Happy Mother’s Day

I was treated to Mother’s Day breakfast, cards and gifts in bed today; the last picture is of the handmade cards that I made this morning for my mum and my sister (it’s her birthday today), inspired by these pretty mugs.

Yes, I know it’s not Mother’s Day yet elsewhere in the world, but if you’re not currently living in the UK, why not share in ours? It’s always good to celebrate!

I was having a long chat with my youngest the other day. He has a lot on his mind at the moment. GCSE exams are looming, he has a part time job and all the pressures of a friendship group going through huge changes and trying to find their place in the world. We always feel better after these heart-to-hearts and because I know him so well I can empathise and make suggestions that I know will resonate with him.

It reminded me that from the time I was a little girl, through my teens and early 20s and even now at 49, there have been times when only my mum will do! Whether I was at a loose end, feeling at odds with the world or coping with a crisis, my mum could always be relied upon to care enough to give me sound advice, cheer me up or give me a good talking to if required. When I was ill in bed she had a wonderful way of making me feel cherished with a soothing drink or something tempting on a tray. She’s nearly 87 now, so I know that the time I have with her is extra precious.

I also know, this Mother’s Day that however independent and grown-up my boys may get, it will always be my job to be there, to pay attention and to care enough to listen and be that safe port in the storm. After all, I’m the one person who knows and loves them best. So Happy Mother’s day to all of you! Keep up the good work and remember that you are irreplaceable!

www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com

 

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February – The Month of Love?

Single Mum's Survival Guide Illustration 13February is traditionally celebrated as the month of love. Statistics report that here in the UK £557 million will be spent going out on romantic dinners, £461 million on presents, £173 million on drinks, £211 million on flowers, £115 million on chocolates and £57 million on cards. So where does that leave single mothers? Some of you will be going out for that dinner, receiving the card and marking Valentine’s day with a happy heart. You may be embarking on a new relationship, in the throes of early lust or love and wondering if he’s Mr. Right. You may even be contemplating introducing him to your children. This Valentine’s day could be a perfect test, to see if he matches up to your romantic expectations!  In my book, I give you some suggestions for how to tell if he’s right for you.  Continue reading

Making Dreams Come True? The Resolution Revolution

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As we approach the end of 2015, many of us will be starting to think about setting our New Years Resolutions. Statistics show that although millions of people make resolutions, 80% of these are doomed to failure. Don’t despair though – I have some useful tips for actually sticking to your resolutions this time and a great way for setting those goals to make your dreams come true.

When deciding on your goal: it must be a big enough challenge to excite you, yet not so enormous that you can’t see yourself achieving it. Plan ahead, don’t leave it until New Years Day. Measure your progress each week, rewarding yourself for achievements along the way. Treat each failure as a temporary setback and get right back on track. Break each major goal into smaller steps and get started, one small step at a time. Write out your major goals each day, so they are fresh in your mind and you can decide what steps you are going to take today.

My gift today is a process that helps you set goals in a way that helps you to believe and achieve them. Read on for my goal-setting exercise.

Allowing the future – IDENTIFYING YOUR GOAL

“What specifically do you want?”

“Where are you now?”

“How will you know when you have it?”

“What will you see when you have it?”

“What will you hear when you have it?”

“What physical sensations will be present when you have it?”

“What will you feel inside (what will your emotions be) when you have it?”

“What will you say to yourself when you have it?”

“What will this outcome get for you or allow you to do?”

“Have you ever had or done this before?”

“Do you know anyone who has?”

“Can you act as if you already have it?”

“What daily action could you take until you have received it?”

“How will you know if you are on course?”

“How will you know if you are off course?”

“What actions can you take if you are off course?”

Answer the following questions in as much detail as possible. The entire scene should be described from the perspective of having already achieved your goal, and that you are now enjoying the spoils.

  1. Now that you have achieved your goal, what pictures or images do you see

out there (i.e. not internal pictures)?

E.g.: I’m standing watching the waves crash on the beach. I see the water dancing and the spray flying high into the air. The sunlight is beautiful. It creates a sparkling effect on the water. The people

around me are smiling, everyone is enjoying the holiday. Children are building sandcastles on the beach.

 2. Now that you have achieved your goal, what sounds and voices do you hear

out there?

 3. Now that you have achieved your goal, what sensations do you feel out there?

 Focus on non-emotion feelings e.g. how warm you feel in the sunshine.

 4. Next, again from the perspective of having achieved your goal, describe what you see internally. What pictures do you see inside your mind?

 5. Describe what you hear internally. What are you saying to yourself?

 6. Describe what you feel inside. Describe the emotions you feel now that you’ve achieved the goal. Be very detailed. Be sure to add in feelings of gratitude for having received this , become this or experienced this.

 MAKING YOUR GOAL A REALITY (Setting your goal)

 Now it’s time to clearly define your goal, using the present tense. Use language that motivates and excites you.

“It is (date that you want this goal to be achieved)……………………………………………………….

and I now allow myself to (e.g. weigh 9 stone, be a size 12, have the new job)………………………………………..

I’m (set the scene – where are you? Who are you with? What’s the evidence that you’ve achieved your goal?)…………………… and I feel: ………………………………………….”.

If you would like my help and advice over the Christmas period, do visit my website www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com, where you can find a free audio on Coping with Christmas or sign up for a free one to one session with me. single mum's survival guide logo

You Can’t Enter Your Destination Until You Have a Start Point!

Single Mum's Survival Guide Illustration 16 001It’s hard to set a course for where you’re going without a starting point. Just imagine typing a location into Google maps and asking for directions, without entering a start point! In the next few days I’ll be sharing an excellent goal setting process which will set you on track for a happy and productive 2016 but before deciding where you want to go, you must first look at where you are now. This doesn’t need to be a depressing task – in fact we often forget all the many achievements we have accomplished because we are so busy focusing on what we still need to change or get done. Try this on your child over Christmas. You could find out what three things they are really happy with from this last year, three things they didn’t like and three things they liked and what they are most proud of. Celebrating successes is a fantastic tool to enhance your child’s self esteem – and yours!

Today’s gift is the gift of reflection as we approach the end of the year. It comes in the form of a video from author and coach Ben Brophy. You might want to have a pen and paper handy and pause the video whilst you answer the questions, like I did!

 

If you would like my help and advice over the Christmas period, do visit my website www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com, where you can find a free audio on Coping with Christmas or sign up for a free one to one session with me. single mum's survival guide logo

 

 

The Gift of Relaxation

I know only too well how elusive relaxation can be for a single mum. There’s always something to do, someone to take care of or someone to worry about and it’s very hard to make yourself relax, even if it’s just what the doctor ordered. The fact is that the more you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to take care of your children and a burnt out, stressed-out version of you is little use to anyone. Whatever trials or turmoil is going on in your life right now, you owe it to yourself and your kids to learn how to relax and recharge your batteries. I am a trained hypnosis practitioner and I have used hypnosis with clients in person, on the phone or Skype or via a recording to help them improve many aspects of their lives. It’s a wonderful tool to bypass the busy rational brain and speak to the subconscious mind, enabling recipients to relax and take on board beneficial suggestions while they go on a lovely daydream. I’m just the tour guide, helping you to help yourself to deeply relax and allow positive shifts to take place in your patterns of thought.

Whatever your thoughts, hopes and plans this Christmas, I’d like to help you to make it as stress-free as possible, as well as passing on a few treats just for you. I’ll be sending you a little something every day between now and Christmas Eve. 

Today’s gift is the gift of 30 minutes relaxation, via this relaxation and anxiety release hypnosis track I recorded. This kind of hypnosis is merely designed to take you to a state of deep relaxation, so it’s best to listen to it just before you go to sleep, or when you have half an hour to yourself when you are fairly certain you won’t be disturbed. Never listen to a hypnosis track while driving or operating machinery. It’s best if you are sitting comfortably, or lying down. Headphones will give you the best experience. If you need to awaken, you will do so easily but in the meantime, just relax and enjoy the journey. Please note, due to the length of the file, Google cannot scan it for viruses and therefore it will ask you whether you wish to download it. Rest assured, it’s virus free, so just click “download anyway” and settle down to listen.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx9s8ZJU61MUNV9zMlFUQ2M5UWc/view?usp=sharing

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If you would like my help and advice over the Christmas period, do visit my website www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com, where you can find a free audio on Coping with Christmas or sign up for a free one to one session with me.

 

Peace on Earth this Christmas?

keep calmPutting aside the twinkly lights and the tinsel, the presents and the food, Christmas is often the time of year that highlights our relationship problems. Statistics show that most families succumb to the pressure of this enforced jolliness and togetherness – it’s when the cracks can show in even the most happy households. One survey I read claimed that the average British family will have at least five arguments on Christmas Day – with the first row taking place at 10.13 am! There is certainly evidence that Christmas puts a strain on couples. Statistics show that January is the busiest month for divorce lawyers. For single mums, it’s a time when many find themselves feeling nostalgic for a past relationship or feeling bitter that they are alone at such a poignant time of year. Anger and sadness can come to the surface and spill over just when we’re trying to be the very spirit of Christmas cheer for our children, friends and extended families and try as we might, once the emotions have come up it’s tough to put them neatly back in the box and seal the lid again.

Whatever your thoughts, hopes and plans this Christmas, I’d like to help you to make it as stress-free as possible, as well as passing on a few treats just for you. I’ll be sending you a little something every day between now and Christmas. 

Today’s gift is an exercise to help you let go of your past relationship and all the unresolved feelings you still have about it. This is a letter you never have to send, yet it enables you to express exactly how you feel about your ex – even if you have mixed emotions. Just go through each question, giving your answer or finishing the sentence – either in your head or on a piece of paper. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel afterwards!

END OF THE RELATIONSHIP EXERCISE

  1. When your name comes up or I think of you I feel …
  2. Something is important here; otherwise I would not be feeling this negative emotion. What is it that I want?
  3. I am still angry with you for….
  4. I am sad because I think you should have …..
  5. I wish we could have…..
  6. The things I didn’t like about our relationship were….
  7. In future relationships, I want less….
  8. I want to acknowledge me for…..
  9. I enriched your life by…..
  10. I need to forgive you for …..
  11. I want to acknowledge you for …..
  12. The biggest benefit of having a relationship with you was (if there was a benefit, what would it be?)……
  13. The things I liked about our relationship were….
  14. In future relationships, I want more….
  15. Through knowing you I learned…..
  16. This has given me…..
  17. I am angry with myself for …..
  18. Sometimes you reminded me of …..
  19. And I reacted by…..
  20. I am sad because I think I should have …..
  21. I am sorry for…..
  22. I need to forgive myself for sometimes…..
  23. I want to acknowledge you for …..
  24. I wish for you…..
  25. I wish for myself…..

If you would like my help and advice over the Christmas period, do visit my website www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com, where you can find a free audio on Coping with Christmas or sign up for a free one to one session with me.single mum's survival guide logo

The Secret Recipe For Christmas Happiness

 

Xmas webinar slide 1 001Many families have their favourite recipes at Christmas, handed down from one generation to the next. I know that I was lucky with learning to cook and appreciate food because my mum was a stay-at-home mum who not only came from a proud line of Yorkshire women renowned for their culinary skills but had also done a Cordon Bleu cookery course when she was first married. Even today you could drop in to see my 86 year old mother and guarantee to be served a home made delicacy appropriate for the time of day. If it’s lunchtime it might be a mouthwatering roast with her home-grown vegetables and famous Yorkshire puddings or one of her East African curries. If it’s coffee or tea time it will be a melt-in-the-mouth Ginger Thin or during the Christmas period, a freshly-warmed mince pie. Many of us don’t have the time or the energy to bake these days – I know I often don’t. However, despite the potential sticky mess, it is well worth making the effort to cook with your children. You can involve them with age-appropriate tasks, from choosing the ingredients at the supermarket to preparing, mixing and decorating the finished result; it also pretty much guarantees that they will eat the finished result, which is a sneakily effective way of dealing with a child who is a fussy eater! Moreover, you are creating togetherness and fond memories and developing their skills and confidence.

Whatever your thoughts, hopes and plans this Christmas, I’d like to help you to make it as stress-free as possible, as well as passing on a few treats just for you. I’ll be sending you a little something every day between now and Christmas.

mince piesToday’s gift is the recipe my mum and I always use to make mince pies at Christmas time. In my opinion they are far nicer than anything you could buy and well worth the effort and time spent in the kitchen. Children love to help assemble these and for a fussy eater you could substitute a spoonful of jam for the mincemeat filling.

INGREDIENTS

560 g mincemeat (the sweet variety with chopped fruit, sold in jars)

350 g plain flour

75 g lard

75 g margarine

a pinch of salt

For the top:

a small amount of milk

a small amount of granulated sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).

You will also need one (or two) trays of 6 cm pie tins, one fluted 7.5 cm pastry cutter and one 6 cm cutter.

Instructions

Make up the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and rub in the fats (bring them to room temperature and then cut them into small cubes first, to make it easier to blend). The trick with pastry is not to overhandle it or get it too warm at this point, so mix it quickly with your fingertips by lifting the pieces of fat up high over the bowl with the flour (so you are letting plenty of air in) and rubbing it gently and lightly through your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Use a knife to begin with and then your hands, then add just enough cold water so that the ball of dough leaves the bowl clean but is not too sticky.

Leave the pastry to rest covered in clingfilm (Saran Wrap) in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, then roll half of it out so that it’s as thin as possible but not breaking and cut it into twenty four 7.5 cm rounds, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling.

Then do the same with the other half of the pastry, this time using the 6 cm cutter.

Now grease the pie tins lightly and line them with the larger rounds. Fill these with a good spoonful of mincemeat, but don’t overfill as they split in the oven. Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds of pastry with water and press them lightly into position to form lids, sealing the edges.

Brush each one with milk and make three snips in the tops with a pair of scissors. Sprinkle with a small amount of sugar. Bake near the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown.

Cool on a wire tray and when the mince pies are cool, store them in a Tupperware or airtight tin. To serve: mince pies are best eaten when they’ve been warmed in the oven, either on their own or with cream or brandy butter.

If you would like my help and advice over the Christmas period, do visit my website www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com, where you can find a free audio on Coping with Christmas or sign up for a free one to one session with me.single mum's survival guide logo