Rewrite your Christmas?

We all hold stories of what Christmas should be like but these stories might actually be the thing that is hindering your joy.

This blog is about how you and I can create new stories of what we want from this Christmas season and day.

It’s a quick dive into where our stories and expectations for Christmas come from and why these can cause us disappointment and pain.

I share how I’ve learned to let go of these expectations and how this has changed my experience of the season radically.

Happy Christmas Memories

As a child, my parent’s religious beliefs meant that our Christmas celebration was actually on New Year’s Day. We didn’t have a Christmas tree or decorations and I don’t remember this bothering me, beyond the slight embarrassment of having to explain it to friends.

We’d put Dad’s socks up by the mantelpiece on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s morning was the most exciting morning of the year. My even more excited sister Jo was always up first, she’d run back into our shared bedroom and update us on the contents of our stockings!


Presents were exchanged and much feasting was to be had on New Year’s day. We’d have a three course meal at my Granny’s in her old farm house up the road. My Granny, Aunt and Mum pretty much invented the Bake Off with their attempts to ‘out pudding’ each other. Lots of my older cousins were there and we loved playing chase and hide and seek, running up one set of stairs and down the other.

assorted pastry on shelf

Yes you could say we ate quite a lot of sugar at Christmas..

I don’t remember having massively high expectations of the Christmas season, just lots of very happy memories.

New Expectations & Disappointments

Then at some point I lost my childish naivety and started having expectations about what Christmas ‘should’ be like. Or more specifically what I wanted it to feel like.

I wanted to feel special, magical, to know I loved and was loved. I wanted us as a family to communicate well and I didn’t want to have large moments of boredom. Our family Christmas’ couldn’t live up to these expectations as much as everyone tried.

If I was in a relationship, I’d have high expectations of my partner – I’d want things to be perfect between us. Yet a special day was never going to fix a compatibility issue.

If I was single, I’d pine for a partner and a family of my own. I’d feel inadequate and wonder what was wrong with me.

I’d look at all my friends on Facebook sharing pictures of their happy family, ‘baby’s first Christmas’ etc. All of a sudden my life seemed pretty sad, lonely and well…  pretty rubbish.

Christmas came with high expectations – expectations that were met with equally high levels of disappointment.

Why did I have such high expectations?

hot choc lady.jpg

Coffee chains lucrative creation of the Christmas cup


Facebook is such a mixed blessing for me – it’s been amazing both for my business and for keeping up with friends who don’t live near me.

And it’s a nightmare in terms of comparing myself to others. Especially when others only share the show reel of their life highlights.

Christmas time can be especially bad for this –

“Look at us looking radiant as we eat our perfect meal”,

“Look at the little darlings opening their presents”,

…meanwhile, behind the scenes..  it took about 15 selfies to get that perfect picture and the ‘little darlings’ are probably driving their parents to distraction.

When I have icky feelings from Facebook I try and limit my time on it. I consciously remind myself that “comparison is the death of all joy” and “don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides”.  #Shonaclichequeen  2018 update: this is as much of a struggle now as it was 2 years ago – only now I’ve added Instagram into the equation!  

The season/ our cultural psyche

Christmas expectations are drip fed to us through adverts, TV, radio, music, our work places. Even a trip to the shops…

There’s an expectation that something special is about to happen. Something we should all be looking forward to.

Me in Supermarket last Friday:

Cashier:   Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Me:            No. I haven’t started but I’ll do it online tonight.

Cashier:   What? You can’t, they won’t come in time.

(Look of genuine horror!)

grayscale portrait photo of shocked woman

Lady in Tesco’s looking shocked at my lack of shopping organisation.

2018 update: I only now buy gifts for nieces and nephew and for my Dad so it’s even easier. 

My close friend, who’s a single mum, shared how she feels guilty because she can’t cook a Christmas dinner with a huge turkey roast as the centre piece of the table like they show on the adverts. She lives in a small flat and there’s no room for the basics, let alone a 15-pound turkey in the middle of the table!

2018 update: She’s let go of that story and her sons now cook the dinner for her! 

Hollywood Christmas Happily Ever Afters Don’t Help!

When it comes to our modern day expectations of romantic love, dear old Hollywood has a lot to answer for – and even more so when it comes to the idea of Christmas and love.

Maybe I should go on holiday and hope that Jack Black will come and visit me? Or pay more attention to the single father/ hot widower living down the street, who looks just like Jude Law?


I hate to admit it, I love this movie!


Maybe I should stand out side the door of my unrequited love’s house, play him a tape of children singing Christmas carols. Hold up signs with a “romantic” speech written on them. Don’t say an actual word and hope that Kiera Knightley doesn’t make an appearance!   2018 update: I don’t have an unrequited love (I don’t think i had in 2016 either – unless I have a very bad memory… I think I just made it up to fit in with the story.)


I really like this one too. Cheese fest I know!   (Film Title: Love Actually. Pictured: MARK (ANDREW LINCOLN). Photo Credit: © Peter Mountain. Copyright: © 2003 Universal Studios.)

Geek fact: “Happy-endingification” began in the 1930s in response to a time of grinding poverty and uncertainty about the future. Those funding film on both sides of the Atlantic decided that audiences wanted a good dose of escapist fun.

Eighty-six years later many of us still want a good dose of escapist fun and the film industry know this is a recipe that sells – especially at Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with this –  as long as we know it’s just that. Real life will always seem a huge let down if we compare it to the big screen!

At some level, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I know that the Hollywood happy endings were part of a false narrative that I was telling myself about Christmas.

Why humans suffer

In my life coaching studies I’ve become fascinated with human suffering. I know this sounds dark and weird but bear with me!

I passionately believe that much of our suffering comes not from circumstances or events but from the stories we tell ourselves about what these mean. This was the theme of my TED Talk a few months ago.

We are the only creature to commit suicide.

Why is this?

Because we are the only creature that can create abstract stories about a past or a future that doesn’t exist.

Story and language are hugely influential in shaping our thoughts and world view.

Suicide is an effort to avoid future suffering.

One of the approaches I study, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), is based on the assumption that suffering is a normal and unavoidable part of human experience. Furthermore, it assumes that it is actually people’s attempts to control or avoid their own painful experiences that leads to much long-term suffering.

I am working on myself, and in the future I hope to help others, to learn ways to let go of the struggle with pain, to be more mindful, to get clarity on what really matters, and to commit to living a full, vibrant life.

It’s not about eliminating certain parts of one’s experience of life, but rather it’s about learning how to experience life more fully, without as much struggle, and with vitality and commitment.

Practicing this for me means that I accept that my life and my Christmas isn’t going to be perfect. It means at times I may struggle with being single and not being a parent – and in the future I will lose family and friends who I love very much.

It also means I realise how much I already have, who I have and how precious this gift of life is.


Random Christmas picture to remind you what this blog is about!

It’s a wrap

I entitled this post “Always winter but never Christmas” which you may recognise from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  I feel that for some years this title reflected my experience of Christmas due to the stories I was telling myself about what Christmas ‘should’ be like.

At the moment my 25th of December 2016 2018 looks like it will involve:

  • run or and maybe gym with my younger sister alone (in a good way; younger sister has 2 little ones that make logistics difficult)
  • serving food and washing dishes at homeless people’s Christmas lunch (Hmm I seem to be less charitable this year!)
  • dinner with my older sister and her partner’s family  Bring and share dinner with most of my nuclear family
  • hiding away in bed with a new novel I’ve been saving! (I don’t have one yet. Any recommendations?)

This might not be your idea of a good Christmas but that’s okay because it’s just my story and it sounds kind of perfect to me!

What will a Christmas that’s perfect for YOU look like?

Your story will be different but, like me, you may face some struggle this Christmas. The struggle may be about someone’s absence or presence.

Let’s invite our grief as well as our fun selves. Many of us will feel the absence of a loved one as strongly as we felt their presence in years past. It hurts. It’s hard. It’s real.

There’s something important and beautiful about acknowledging and embracing both the joy and the struggle that this season brings.

If we can lose the cultural expectations of Christmas it’s easier to  find joy in the little things. Christmas can offer us rare moments of stillness, slowed down-ness in our overly busy and overly structured lives.

Let’s let go of the stories we tell ourselves about what Christmas ‘should’ be like.

Somehow in the act of letting go, something more precious emerges.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” Charles Dickens


Post Script

I hope you have an amazing Christmas and New Year!!

Thanks so much for making the time to read my blog. I’d be delighted to hear from you if anything in this blog resonated with you. Please drop me a message.

If you are interested in coaching, walking, retreating or workshopping with me find out more here:






I want to be a Mountain

“I want to be a mountain” she said.

“You want to be a mountain?”  I laughed.

Day light in winter is short and precious. We’d chosen to spend today’s light ration hiking the two main summits of An Teallach.

An Teallach is one of Scotland’s most famous mountains – a complex sandstone massif with a pinnacle ridge.


We’d hiked in mist and when it lifted by the ridge we looked on in wonder. It was like we’d climbed through a portal to a new world of beauty. A beauty so dramatic that words don’t scratch the surface of its depths.

Now we’re sitting on a rock, just a kilometre or so from the car. It was freezing on the hill  with snow underfoot and we’d felt too cold to eat on the hill. Here we are out of the wind, scarfing down homemade tuna and sweetcorn wraps with hungry pleasure.

“Why?” I asked.

Her reply: “I want to be strong and firm, unmoving in who I am”.

i wish i was a mountain

Lindsey on An Teallach

Lindsay and I sit in our fleshy ‘non mountain-ness’ on the cusp of the most materialistic season of our year.

And I wonder, what would this Mountain think if she could see us Non Mountains in our winter habitat.

I imagine to her we look as crazed ants…

  • Well-groomed ants, all dressed up on a night out.
  • Or ‘at home’ ants numbing out on turkey dinners, prosecco and Family Sized boxes of Roses.
  • Ants struggling to move under the burden of shopping bags.
  • Ant’s like me, scrolling and shopping online – receiving bulky Amazon Deliveries.
  • Busy ants with “to do” lists as long as Loch Broom.
  • Tired ants with over loaded nervous system watching ‘just one more’ of that Netflix series.
  • Lonely Ants who crave rest and connection but don’t know where to find it.

I can see her now, this Mountain – Sgurr Fiona – looking on, not with judgement but with a sad bewilderment.


An Teallach

If I silence my mind I can just catch her words through the NOISE of ‘ant world’. She kindly calls now through the wind and I hear what sounds like Hafiz’s ancient poem:


Then stay with me, for I am not.”

Selfishly I’m glad my friend Lindsay isn’t a mountain.

But mountains are alive.

All of nature is alive.

And in this season, we often numb and remove ourselves from that which makes us alive.

Winter can feel cold, cruel and uninviting but when we find the courage to swaddle up in layers, step outside and get our hearts pumping good things always happen.

Your health or mobility may limit you from getting your heart rate too high and your locality may make it difficult for you to visit mountains regularly. But just stepping outside and noticing outdoor beauty in any form is one of the simplest and kindest things you can do for yourself this winter season.

Nature runs on a different frequency to much of modern life. This energy can calm our nervous system. It can recalibrate us. It can bring us back to our self.

Seeing life from a Mountain’s perspective can bring a about a helpful shift. Increasingly a perspective that I try and view my life from.

Living an outdoor life has gone from being an occasional pass time to becoming a fundamental part of who I am.

There are times when I feel cold, bored and frustrated and I wonder why I’m out.

But these moments are outweighed 100 fold by the wonder, the joy and the centering that being outdoors in nature gives me. Like a mountain – I feel stronger and firmer and less wobbly in who I am.

If you are feeling tired, fractured or smothered by the season why not become like a mountain. Slow your pace, lean into its solidity and listen:


Then stay with me, for I am not.”  (Hafiz).

An Teallach

Lindsay on An Teallach

Post Script:

Thank you so much for reading.

** If you are reading this in 2018 (when it was published) I’ve a plan to make my message more ‘actionable’.  I’m going to be posting daily outdoor photographs on my Instagram and Facebook through out December using the hashtag #Decemberbeauty   .

Why not join me and challenge yourself to get outdoors and notice beauty each of the 31 days of December? (It could just be 5 minutes outside your door!).  You can share using the same hashtag, or message me and tell me – or keep it private for you!

If you’d like to walk and coach with me find out more here for low level and here for high level treks in May and June 2019!

Or if you’d like to retreat with me and Lindsay to connect with mind, body and nature to get Unstuck find out more about our 2019 retreat here.




Am I being watched? A woman’s journey alone in the hills.

Ben Mhor Assynt towered over me as I worked quickly to ‘un-peg’, ‘un-pole’ and ‘un-tent’. I’d arrived last night in soft gloaming light, relishing this wild space, this wild isolation. Rain was promised so I made haste.


My tent near the Bone Caves, Inchnadamph

My tent near the Bone Caves, Inchnadamph


This thought was interrupted by the sight of a figure on horizon. He was tall and lithe. A climber perhaps? As he drew closer I saw his face wore weathering and kindness. Maybe in his 50s? His eyes smiled, and he offered words. I in return offered some of mine. And we walk on, he to the Ben and I towards Inchnadamph.


They say the hardest part of a walk is finding the start. They were right. I mistakenly turned up the path to the Estate House, rather than keeping straight till the turning off at the small bridge over the burn. Upon realising my error and I stopped, found my position on the map and I retraced my steps.

But as I did so I felt I was being watched. I felt eyes burning into the back of my neck. Were they laughing at me? Sniggering at my foolish mistake? I wondered if I caught a flash of eyes watching me with concerned pity.


The last time I’d seen that look of concerned pity in another’s eyes had been on my summer mountain leadership course.

It was 7pm and darkness was falling on the plateau of the Cairngorms. The air felt bitterly cold as I merged from the relative warmth of my tent. I was already flustered as my headtorch light was low, having accidentally knocked the ‘on’ switched in my backpack.

As my Instructor rightly chastised me for not carrying spare batteries, I was transported from my adult self to 12-year-old me. A girl who had a very strong belief that she wasn’t enough.

From that moment the night navigation session went from bad to worse. I struggled with the cold but mostly I struggle with my own head and self-doubt – I performed terribly.

I hadn’t felt my heart beat so fast nor felt so panickily since my nervous teenage years. I caught a glimpse of Paul looking at me with what I read to be pity.

I responded with shame.

For the remaining two days of the course I shrunk from my course colleagues.

I felt like half of me was missing: my personality and my words. It was as if the truth I’d managed to keep hidden all these years was finally revealed – I was stupid and had no right to be there. It even affected the way I perceived my appearance – I felt hugely unattractive. Such a visceral memory.


I was still on the hill above Inchnadamph and had walked on for several  kilometres, climbing the steep heathery land, making my way to the Beallach.

My heart was pounding healthily, I was moving well. Maybe I was alone and unwatched again.

I started picking my way down the hillside when the fog gathered in about me as. Rain spit turned to a deafening pour. My firm ground became slippery. I was getting cold and wet. On went my Gore-Tex jacket and trousers.

As I checked my map, I knew was again being followed by the gaze. Despite the fog I was being seen, being judged and being found wanting.

And as full grey clouds darken overhead, my thoughts darkened:

“I shouldn’t be here.

What was I thinking?

Who was I kidding?

This isn’t my place.

I don’t belong here.”



View from Glen Coul Bothy

View from Glen Coul Bothy

Sunlight floods through the clouds and it’s warmth penetrates beyond my skin, into my spirit.

It’s like someone has just pressed the ‘play’ button and the birds are singing in obedient response.

The sight of Glen Coul Bothy has made the last two hours of bracken and bog trodding worth my toil. She stands on a small hillock by the sea loch. Led by her insatiable pull, the sight of the fastened silver bolt on the glossy emerald green door fills me with joy. No one’s inside – I have this bothy all to myself. It’s late, just gone 7pm and its remote enough that no one’s likely to arrive.

I quickly get to work, making home.

Sweeping first the dusty sleeping platform in the bedroom, then the kitchen floor. As I lay kindling and start the fire, I’m grateful to the kind stranger who left ample supply of wood.

Making home and drying my kit in Glen Coul Bothy

Making home and drying my kit in Glen Coul Bothy

I hang my sodden trousers, jacket, tops, boots and backpack on the pulley above the fire place and sort out my kit. Kneeling on the floor I saw more wood down to size, intending to keep the blaze going until bed. In the fire’s warmth and woody/smoky smell I lose myself in thought and in reading extracts of the Bothy Book.

It’s 10pm before I have any interest in boiling water for my dinner. Food feels strangely unimportant tonight. I just want to savour this rich place and these precious moments.

Yet my veggie pasta packet dinner only adds to the blissful contentment that’s filling my belly, my chest, my whole being.

The fire‘s down to embers as I leave my kitchen den for the bedroom. It’s cold. A simple, sparse room with a curtainless window looming large.

I turn off my headtorch and coorie into myself, searching for warmth in my sleeping bag. As I look out into the sheer black-velvety darkness I know I’m completely alone.

No one is watching, no one is judging.

And as I drift into a deep, tired, peaceful sleep I’m no longer watching nor judging either.


Post script

I’m both in love with, and relatively new to, mountaineering. In this blog I’ve given voice to my feelings of watched and judged when I’m facing challenge in the outdoor environment.

I recently attended a summer mountain leadership course. With hindsight, I wasn’t experienced enough to gain all I could have from the course and this knocked my confidence. I’m a work in progress and am continuing to walk, to learn from others and to practice my navigation skills.

My self-judgement comes from my own old limiting beliefs – a combination of internalising cultural narratives and my own meaning making.  I sometimes catch myself projecting these onto an unseen watcher.  When my watcher is at its loudest, as it was on my course, I feel horrendous.

Paradoxically my watcher shows up on my journeys to wild places – the very places where I feel most ‘me’, most connected and most free.

My watcher may continue to hang around for a while longer on my outdoor journeys but as I learn to pay attention I realise it’s not because she is mean and bitchy but because she wants to keep me safe. When she next comes to watch over me, I’ll thank her and gently remind her that I’m okay.  I’ll continue to live and act in spite of my fear.

Can you related to any of this? Do you feel judged and watched? The feeling may show up for you out doors, or somewhere completely different like the gym or at work? Are you tired of watching and judging yourself?

I’m passionate about helping people finding freedom from self-limiting thoughts, life scripts and stuckness. I do this through one to one life coaching and also through running Women’s Treks for Wellbeing in the beauty of the Cairngorms. (Don’t worry we have a well-qualified Mountain Guide also!!)

Find out more about life coaching with me HERE and more about our Treks for Wellbeing HERE.


Finding my heart’s desire in my own back yard

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” 

(L Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).

red cons.jpg


“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.

Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” 

(L Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).

The living room ceiling wall paper was neither attached nor was it free. It was hanging there, limp and half finished. It started peeling off 2 years ago – ‘a poor decorating job’ he said. I didn’t even notice it anymore.

Each of the pillows on my double bed were different. Two lived unused on the left side because age had rendered them flat and they smelt a bit musty. The other two had more puff but still not enough for my liking. The pillow cases were unmatched and faded to a dirty cream. My mishmash of sheets wore tiny pen stains.

The papers in my bureau drawers spoke of delayed decisions; the jewellery box on my dresser would often catch my attention but it remained full of untouched sparkly things from another life.


For the last two years I’d been decluttering my home but one day it hit me – “Airbnb it”. I’m away a lot, and plan to be more so next year, it made sense.

I spent a glorious weekend decluttering and scrubbing with a fury. I stuffed my bike paniers with clothes, old sheets, crockery and headed to Barnardo’s Charity Shop so often that I’ve become a known face. With each load I felt lighter.

I contracted a Decorator who fixed the ceiling wall paper and freshened the paint. I’ve 4 equally puffy pillows, fresh pen ink free bedding and a duvet that feels like a velvet hug. My surfaces are nearly clear.

Sometimes I think I need to go away to feel different. Or live somewhere else. But in reality, I can feel different in this wonderful home, that’s already here.  I just had to show it some love and care and not leave my my own crap all over the place.


Of course most of you reading this won’t be rushing out to Airbnb your home! But my what’s true in my house story is true at a deeper level in life.

If we can show love and care to ourselves and others and not leave our mental crap all over the place, we are probably already close to our hearts desire. Our heart’s desire may already be in our backyard!

I’ve often felt my heart’s desire would be met in another.  And I still hope and expect to fall in love at least once more in my life! But I’m learning not to attach to this in a graspy way. I’m letting go of mental crap that tells me I ‘should’ be a in relationship or that happiness is to be found there.

I’ve also felt that my heart’s desire would be met in finding the right career or vocation and as a result I’ve re-invented my career about 5 times. I love what I do, and I also accept that my career will never be perfect.

For me at this moment my heart’s desire is very simple:

– to be outdoors in beauty as much as I can,

– to listen, be kind and help others through my Life Coaching work,

– to connect to those I love & to those I might

– to learn and grow everyday

– to create

This might sound overly simple or a bit cheesy but isn’t intimacy and kindness all most of us crave?

If you simplify your life what does your heart’s desire look like?

Is it possible that most of what you desire is already here?

Is it possible that you don’t need to travel far, or have that new experience or thing?

Maybe we need less experiences and stuff, so we can enjoy the treasure in our own back yard.

Oh and if you want to stay in my home – here it is!My home on Airbnb




Clutter and coffee. (How to make everything feel better in an hour!)

A half-drunk mug of cold coffee lurks dangerously close to my lap top, random scribbled Post It notes and a pile of unopen bank statements on my desk.

I’m hunched over, trying to write a blog but flitting distractedly between projects, Facebook scrolling and Insta checking.

My mind’s racing and the unhelpful shadow thoughts are winning the race.

clutter blog 1Focus Shona.

 You are way behind.

What are you even doing?

No one is going to be interested in your retreat!

 People are bored hearing about your treks.

 You’ve nothing new to say.

 Maybe it’s time to get a ‘real job’

 Stop kidding yourself”.


My body feels completely in sync with my head situation:  heavy, dull, lethargic and defeated.

Coffee seems like a good idea – the only idea.

Pushing back my chair the stack of books and the papers on the coffee table catch my eye.

Their brazen misplacedness irritates me.

Leaving the lounge, my tall grubby white washing basket menacingly blocks my way.

clutter blog 2

At the bottom of the stair a mountain of outdoor gear – shoes, hats, gloves, bags, spill out of the shelves.

The letter dump area by my small window SCREAMS of delayed decisions and procrastination.

My head’s hurting now.

I’m completely out of alignment.

My mind’s scattered all over the house.

So, I stop.

And breath.

And I remember what to do.

I give myself over to blatant, un-adulterated selfcare.

Blatant un-adulterated decluttering and sorting.

Letters are opened, filed or chucked into recycling.

Decisions are made about woolly hats requirements.

Boots and shoes are put in their boot and shoe homes.

Books are re-shelved.

Time stands still as I absorb myself in this beautiful act of self-love.

As each item is homed to its place or discarded, I feel a growing expansion in my chest and dropping of my shoulders.

A wave of pride runs through me as I fill a Tesco’s shopper:

  • A pink stripy woolly hat with a bobble that gets in the way of my hood ,
  • A red running top that doesn’t suit me,
  • A bunch of old recipe books which I’d kept ‘just in case’.
  • Counselling text books that have gathered dust over the last 10 years.

Letting go.

This simple act of letting go of things takes me from the shadows of self-doubt to a lighter clearer and freer space.

And I remember things:

That I can do little things well.

That I love and respect myself enough to sort out the basics.

That making my physical space clear gives me a beautiful freedom in my headspace.


I’m sat at my desk, with a piping hot coffee and an open lap top. I can’t wait to start writing a decluttering blog:

“A half-drunk mug of cold coffee lurks dangerously close to my lap top…”

clutter 3

Post script:

We each have our own relationship with our physical things and I’m probably at the higher end of the scale in terms of sensitivity to clutter! Please read no judgement to your space from my blog.

I know intuitively and from experience that decluttering and caring for our physical spaces has a direct relationship with our inner world. There’s growing scientific evidence of this also [J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 12;31(2):587-97. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3766-10.2011.]

As a life coach I’m passionate about us finding freedom in our lives.  One tool I use in helping people find freedom is using your body as a compass to guide you when things aren’t quite right.  As you can read in this blog my body was giving me some pretty strong signals.

If you are based in the Highlands of Scotland my colleague and I are running a Mind Over Clutter Workshop on the 25th August, read more here. 

Where ever you live, if you are like me and get overwhelmed at times, I’d massively encourage you to look at your physical space and see if you can make any changes there.

Good stuff usually happens when we let go of what we don’t need.










Is this it?

10 June 2018

My door gives a satisfactory clunk as I pull it shut and turn the key.

I let the railing take my weight as I go up the stair.

A few years ago, a carpenter from the Black Isle laboriously removed decades of paint from those stairs and railings. The house was build c. 1890.

Thirty-three cups of builder’s tea later we both stood in awe, enjoying the simple beauty he’d excavated from generations of white gloss. He wondered out loud why someone would have put such an ornate banister in such an ordinary small house.


I forget to remember this story as I slump on my bed, phone in hand and start scowling on Facebook.

An hour later I emerge from social media feeling irritated and kind of empty.

When I tune into my feelings I realise I feel very alone and with a sense I’ll always be so.

More than that, I have a sense that my looks and body are slowly but surely moving on a downward trajectory and there’s nothing I can do but watch.

When I tune into my thoughts I recognise that I’m in ‘Is this It? – Land’.

‘Is this It? – Land’ is a pretty dodgy place…

It’s a place where I place attachment onto things that are beyond my control.

It’s looks a bit like a murky stone cellar in a badly made BBC kidnap drama.

It smells damps with a hint of an old ladies rose talcum powder.

Despite its darkness I’ve chosen to hang out in this cellar. I’ve let the thoughts seduce me.


10 July 2018

My door gives a satisfactory clunk as I pull it shut and turn the key.

I let the railing take my weight as I go up the stair.

I love my stairs as they remind me of the beauty of aging things.  

Today’s my birthday.

I’ve trained at the gym and want to cry with joy that my Achilles feels different. I slowly, tentatively took a lap of the track, like an infant learning to trust her legs for the first time.

Whilst coaching, my client smiles with her eyes as she tells me she feels her strength is returning.

During lunch Scott messages me, telling me he’s a peace loving vegetarian punk and would I like to meet for a drink?

My meeting with my sister and little nieces tastes of hot one-shot coffee, feels warm and soft like a child’s pudding arms and sounds of kind and silly words.



It’s taken me most of my 41 years on this planet to learn how to manage my thoughts.

Knowing I choose what I let my mind rest on changes everything.

Knowing that I don’t need to be seduced by the ‘Is This It?’ thoughts.

Our circumstances don’t need to change for us to feel gratitude, contentment, possibility, hope and joy.

Anytime I feel seduced down to my pity cellar I’m going to let my beautiful old banister pull me back up.


So, “Is this it?”

For me, it’s it for now and it’s pretty good.

And there’s an unwritten future that I haven’t even imagined yet.


As a coach, it’s my joy to help others learn to manage their thoughts, to dream again and to make those dreams real.  ‘Freedom’ and getting ‘unstuck’ are my words that describe what I do.

One to one coaching with me is a great way for us to work together to help you get unstuck, find out more at

I’m also excited to share that I’m running a retreat in the Scottish Highlands in the second weekend of October, 2018. It will be a place for thoughtful women to come together to work on getting unstuck and on dreaming of the next step.

Please message me if you’d like to be on my ‘Retreat Interest List’ to get an early bird discount on a place.