talented seamstress Julie Brown

Inspiring Women: How To Enjoy Life To The Full

Meet my latest guest for my Inspiring Women series.  Julie Brown is a transformational writer and business coach.  Julie helps entrepreneurs get more eyes on their business through the telling of their own story.  But Julie’s had a fascinating journey from Nursing to management in the NHS before following her passion to write.   Julie is also a talented seamstress who has a passion for adrenaline hobbies!

talented seamstress Julie Brown

Tell Us About Your Background And Early Career

I left school at sixteen (wow that’s an age ago).  After a short stint in a council office I trained as a general and then psychiatric nurse.

At the height of the HIV/AIDS scare I became a counsellor working with affected men and women and their family and friends – such a sad time and very humbling.

After moving into NHS management, I worked for the Government as a hospital review manager.  I was responsible for awarding NHS trusts with quality stars or stripping them of existing ones, depending on what I found.

I studied for and achieved a first degree and MBA during my time in the NHS.

A Change Of Career 

 A lot of life changes come on the back of a particular event and this was no exception.

My mum died after a hard-fought battle with cancer and it made me see life in a different way.

It brought on a determination to follow my dreams.  I love writing, am nosey and live close to one of the biggest publishers in the country. Shortly after losing my mum, I saw a job for a writer advertised.

I applied and a few months later took my seat on a specialist magazine with an enormous pay cut to go with it.  I haven’t once looked back. I’d already learnt (from a spell as a single parent) that money wasn’t everything.  Enjoying what you do and nurturing your mental health is just as important.

That job was on Your Horse magazine, the UK’s number one equine mag, and as horses have been a lifelong passion, it couldn’t have worked out any better. I became an editor just five years later followed by a four-year stint as a magazine publisher.

inspiring women julie brown

Diverse publications 

I published a title called Back Street Heroes about custom motorcycles (choppers, as we used to call them) and the people and scene around them. The bikes were beautiful, but it was the people that made it memorable.

Not always easy to work with, but all of them were characters.  Under my guidance we reversed a decline in sales and increased subscription numbers too.

LEAP TO SELF-EMPLOYMENT

When I was getting ready to leave paid employment (scary!) I trained as a life coach after working with a coach myself.  I knew this was something I would enjoy doing and be good at.

Once I’d started down this path and people realised I was a journalist too, I found myself attracting business owners who wanted help with developing their writing skills or who wanted me to write for them – blogs, web copy etc.

This prompted a slight shift of direction and Write Little Madam was unleashed.

I am a transformational writer and business coach, which allows me to use the whole range of skills in my toolkit.

I help business owners get more eyes on their business through telling their own story. Coaching them in writing skills, getting into the press and online and communicating directly to the heart of their customers.

I still work as a journalist for publications and online, which continues to give me joy, credibility and carves me out as an expert at what I do.

talented seamstress inspiring women Julie Brown

A TALENTED SEAMSTRESS  

As a business owner it can be so easy to get sucked into working all day, every day. But I believe that taking time to do a bit of what you love is important and I make sure I practise what I preach.

I try to do a bit of sewing a couple of times a week in the evenings, then will spend longer on it at the weekend. Having a system helps. Cutting out patterns and fabric can be the time-consuming bit, so I do this in bulk, using dead time, like watching TV to cut out the paper patterns.

This means that at any one time I have two or three things ready to sew, so when I have a chunk of time I can whizz along and have a garment finished relatively quickly.

How would you describe your style?

 A little bit eclectic to be honest. I adore vintage clothes (I have a wardrobe dedicated to this) and so I make a fair few things that are vintage inspired. I’m on the look-out for a pattern for flared trousers right now!

At the moment I’m also enjoying Japanese styled clothes, which tend to be loose fitting, floaty and a bit quirky. I choose patterns where there’s room for personalisation. I may change the style of the sleeves or make something shorter for instance.

The big appeal about sewing is that I’m unlikely to meet anyone wearing the same thing. And it’s such a great feeling when people compliment me on what I’m wearing and ask where I got it from. Sewing is also a great distraction as it’s difficult to think about much else when you’re creating.

talented seamstress julie brown

when did you learn TO SEW?

 I didn’t do sewing at school although I was keen to – it just wasn’t offered. When I left I enrolled in night classes to learn, which I did for four years.

I continued to sew for a while and then stopped (family stuff, work etc.) until 2010, when I was working with a graphic designer who enjoyed sewing and was a  talented seamstress.

Through our chats, and her bringing in her recent makes, I caught the bug again and off I went. I bought a 1964 Bernina sewing machine from Ebay and started with an elasticated waist skirt. The joy of sewing soon came flooding back and I now have a much fancier machine!

I have a tendency to take things to the extreme!  While I was working full time as a publisher, I opened a sewing shop in the cute market town we lived in at the time.

I stayed in my job and employed two people to run the shop Monday to Friday. I worked there on Saturdays and also ran workshops to share my passion for creating with others. Sadly, I had to sell my lovely shop a couple of years ago when we needed to relocate. I’ll never forget my little vintage styled shop.

I still attend sewing classes to develop my skills and keep up to date. I have learnt to draft my own patterns, use fabrics in unusual ways, learn tailoring techniques and recently turned my hand to making a pair of trainers too.

MAKE UP DOESN’T HAVE TO BE BEIGE!

 I am very excited about this. I’ve noticed as I’ve aged that people’s expectations of how I should look has changed. I’ve always dressed individually and I adore make-up, but apparently at my age I should be more beige, with conventional make-up and old lady hair (whatever that is). Well, I’m not having it and I’ll continue to wear what I want and experiment with make-up till I can no longer do it (and even then I’ll probably ask someone else to do it for me!) My mission is to get other women feeling the same confidence to do this – to stay sassy until the end.

I’ve created a blog and YouTube channel to share my experiences and also review make-up and skincare to inspire women to try different things. I can help them make informed choices. Yellow eyeliner? Beach tousled hair? Bring it on!  I also write about fashion, vintage and what I call ‘interesting stuff,’ which could be anything I think the more mature women might want to hear about.

inspiring women Julie Brown Still Sassy

A PASSION FOR FREEDOM

 The two things that make my heart race are riding motorbikes and snowboarding.

I’ve been riding for around 25 years, owning a whole range of bikes in that time. I’ve ridden Route 66 (Chicago to Los Angeles), the West Coast of America twice, in France, Spain and Ireland. And done many, many laps of Britain too.

I know it’s a cliché, but the freedom you feel on a bike is overwhelming. When you get an empty road and you can open the throttle and let it go, it’s like nothing else.

Yes, I’ve been scared a few times and fell off twice in America, but the pleasure of riding outweighs the fear tenfold. When you ride you’re so much more involved with your surroundings.

You can hear, see and smell things you never would in a car. And of course, you can carve through the traffic with no bother at all. I always think that owning a fast car would be fab, but even the fastest get stuck in traffic. Not so with a bike.

motorbike inspiring women Julie Brown

LET’S NOT FORGET SNOWBOARDING!

Snowboarding is a relatively new thing – I’ve been at it for about 11 years now. I started when I was between horses and had too much time on my hands.

My son could ski and I joined him for a lesson. I was terrible at it but loved being on the snow (or false snow given we were at an indoor snow centre) and liked the idea of snowboarding more –  it looked so cool. So, I gave it a go. I can’t say it was easy to learn – I walked away from every lesson with bruises, but I kept going back and once it all came together it’s been one of the best things I’ve done.

Now I enjoy a snowy holiday at least once a year and it’s something me and my (now grown up) son can do together, which is fab. We leave hubby behind (he turned out not to be a natural on the snow) and blast around the mountains, laughing like loons the whole way. The mountains are an awe-inspiring place to spend some time. I highly recommend it. If you don’t fancy snowboarding, there are plenty of walking tracks to keep you busy.

To contact Julie

Julie’s transformational writing and coaching business can be found at  Write Little Madam

If you share Julie’s passion for not being beige and would like to learn more about wearing make up and taking care of your skin head over to her blog Still Sassy  or You Tube Channel  to learn more.

transformational writer and coach Julie Brown

 

Would you like to share your story? 

We’re all remarkable inspiring women whether we think we are or not!  Our journeys are fascinating to others and let’s face it we all love cheering each other on!  If you would like to share your story and inspire others then I’d love to hear from you!  Please click on the box below to contact me!

By providing your personal details we will only use this to contact you in connection with your enquiry about my Inspiring Women Blog and Vlog Series

de-cluttering your wardrobe

How To Enjoy Life After De-cluttering Your Wardrobe

If you’ve been de-cluttering your wardrobe recently then you’ve probably been thinking what’s next?  Maybe you have been wondering how you stop yourself needing to do another major de-cluttering session?

de-cluttering your wardrobe

Well there are several steps you should take after de-cluttering your wardrobe which I’d like to share with you here:

1. CELEBRATE!

Acknowledge your achievement – how does it make you feel? Proud? Happy? Fulfilled? More relaxed?

2. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

If you’ve spent some time de-cluttering your wardrobe it can be tiring physically and emotionally.  So do something to fill your self up whatever that looks like.

life after de-cluttering your wardrobe

3. DECLUTTER OTHER AREAS

Recognise that by regaining control over your wardrobe may encourage you to de-clutter other areas of your life.   Not just your living space, but perhaps your digital space as well.

4. FREETIME

We lose up to 2.5 days per year looking for stuff that we have lost. That’s a whole weekend away and you’ve earned it!  So remember to book that weekend away it’s time to reclaim those 2.5 days now!

5. ENCOURAGE OTHERS

Share your experience of de-cluttering your wardrobe with friends and family.  Help them see that de-cluttering is much more than simply getting rid of bags of unwanted clothes.

6. DONATION BOX/BAG

Have a box or bag in the bottom of your wardrobe for any items that no longer feel part of your much loved wardrobe collection.

7. SET REGULAR DATES for DE-CLUTTERing your wardrobe

Put them in your diary and stick to them.  Even if you find that reviewing your wardrobe means there’s nothing to clear out – just setting yourself regular reminders is a great way to stay on top of your wardrobe.

set dates for de-cluttering your wardrobe

8. SHOPPING

Now hopefully your approach to shopping will change as a result of de-cluttering your wardrobe!  You will know what is in your wardrobe and what might be missing. So when you go shopping there are three things you should remember:

  • Spend money only on items that you really love. If you’re seeking a second opinion in the changing room, the chances are it won’t make it to the tag removal stage in your wardrobe!
  • You know what’s in your wardrobe now so when you do see something think about how it will go with other items in your wardrobe – my rule of thumb is you should be able to style something 3 ways!
  • Be honest with yourself when you are shopping – why are you shopping?Are you unhappy about something and buying something to simply cheer yourself up – again unless the item passes the other tests then chances are it will languish unworn

de-cluttering your wardrobe making you more mindful about shopping

9. MONEY

Many of us are sick of Fast Fashion – cheap products, poor quality that don’t last.  Not only are they bad for the environment and are made by people who are barely paid a living wage.  BUT overcoming our attraction to buying from stores offering ‘bargains’ is sometimes more difficult.  Why?

Well it has a lot to do with how we value ourselves.

We know deep down that it’s better to buy quality pieces that will last.  They look better, are more durable and frankly with more care taken in manufacture will look better on us.

Those of us who shop in pre-loved boutiques know how fabulous it feels to find a unique piece with a designer label at an incredibly good PRICE – that’s very much the nub of it.

Buying quality means getting out of our own way on price. Many of us have hang ups about spending a lot on ourselves – often coming from a place where we’ve been conditioned to think ‘we’re not worth it’.

I work on a practical way of reframing the gut churning feelings we get sometimes when we look at the price tag.  We love it, it looks gorgeous and it will go with so much in our wardrobes but how do we justify it?

  • Consider the number of times you might wear the garment, envisage the ways you can make it work in your wardrobe (which is now a neatly curated closet where you know every piece in it)
  • Can you make it into a signature look piece – so you become known as the woman in the gorgeous blah label jacket for example?
  • Then take the cost of the item and divide it by the potential number of times you can see yourself wearing it. This is called the cost per wear.  All of a sudden it doesn’t seem so expensive does it?
  • Reflect on how long you might keep an item you really love and is a quality garment – 5 years, 10 years perhaps? Divide the cost by the number of years – again it doesn’t seem so expensive does it?

FINALLY REFLECT

What was difficult about de-cluttering your wardrobe?  It may make it easier to work out why you hang on to stuff.  What are the emotional ties – are they related to the money you’ve invested, a sense of guilt about cost v wear?

Perhaps there’s some anxiety that you have put on weight and can’t fit into some of your clothes? Maybe you have simply been hanging on to clothes because you don’t like shopping and hoping that you can put off the inevitable moment of having to buy more.

How do you stop those feelings recurring?  Well there are the steps to follow about shopping (as discussed) but do you need some practical help to understand what works for you in terms of colours and styles?

If you’re struggling with de-cluttering your wardrobe you might like to download my handy guide.

 

ali moore BeMoore

Reconnect Your Life & Find Your Roar!

Meet Ali Moore!  One of the most inspiring women I know.  Ali is inspiring on so many levels – ali moore reconnect your life
what’s she’s achieved in her life to date personally and for her business. How many plates she spins and doesn’t manage to drop a single one!   She’s an empathetic and engaging public speaker, as well as a published author of Reconnect Your Life.

She’s passionate about clothes and her signature style.  Ali also describes herself as a compulsive shopper who doesn’t want to be cured!  But that’s enough from me, let’s hear Ali’s story.

Ali – Please introduce yourself

Hi – I am Ali Moore, founder of Bemoore which is a private therapy and coaching practice; specialising in the science of self- esteem.  Working with women to restore that self- esteem platform and feel fabulous about being them.

I am a community Celebrant  and author of Reconnect Your Life – more about those later!

I am married to my Alfie and between us we have 5 children. My girls are 22 and 19 my step children 13 and 11. We also have our joint venture who is 4.5 years old!

Tell us about your childhood and your teenage years

My early years were really quite normal – a good middle-class family. Just before my teenage years however I experienced an awful period of bullying which led not only to me being home schooled for a while but also developing social anxiety and controlling my eating. It wasn’t a great time, but the homeschooling actually was a real blessing and I am forever in debt to the teacher I had and the introduction to topics such as mindfulness and yoga.

You met your first husband at just 15 and soon had two amazing girls while juggling a corporate career.  How did you manage to keep all the plates spinning?

I was fortunate that both sets of grandparents were fully involved.

I had to go back to work financially.  We owned our first home by the time I was 18,  I was young when I had the girls, so in those early days there wasn’t an option to be a stay at home mum.

I think like many women you just get on with it and make it work. You get organised and I did actually love working alongside being a mum.  I think the girls gained from it in different ways.

ali moore radio presenter

Sadly, your first marriage ended after 21 years, what was the catalyst for this?

We got together, as you said,  at a very young age, we had grown up and become different people.

Our son was still born in 2007 having diagnosed with a life preventing condition and I strongly believe that there is no relationship which cannot be impacted by this loss.

We grieved very differently, and I was forever changed as a person. I made a decision about 18 months after that it was best all round we separated.  He has remained very close to the girls and very involved in their lives.

What was your coping mechanism after losing your baby?

Initially my coping mechanism was work.  I went back to work 2 weeks after the funeral. There was no support really offered.

The GP never visited or checked in.  A midwife did come and visit in the first few days – but she was very newly qualified and out of her depth.  I made her a cup of tea if I remember rightly!

I didn’t know about any type of therapy or counselling and it seemed as though we were expected to just ‘move on’ with life!  After a while I was prescribed anti -depressants but overall, I just got on with it. It was later that I realized I hadn’t dealt with it at all.

When your first marriage ended, how did you build the next stage of your life?

I had never been on my own.  I didn’t really even know who I was outside of the marriage and relationship.

But I will be honest and say I threw myself into this next phase. Learning to manage bank accounts and the house things which I had never done.

I persuaded my boss to give me a project in a new role in a brand-new location .  I wanted a fresh start. To not be ‘the women whose life was a car crash’.

I totally changed myself as well, joining a gym and changing my hair.  I qualified as a Life and Business Coach. It was full on in those early years.

I needed to be financially stable to keep the family home for the girls – that was my driver.

ali moore reconnect your life

arrival of the chimp

I am very comfortable now with telling this.  It’s part of who I am and there is no shame in mental health challenges.

Firstly I was very happy at this stage of my life.  Most of the drama was all done. I went out to feed the cats one morning and had a panic attack.  Firmly believing that a chimp had escaped from the nearby safari park !  Convinced this chimp would be in the area and would attack the girls on the way to school.

I knew this was crazy talk, but I also couldn’t step away from the panic.   This wasn’t an isolated incident – it kept happening.  I would have to pull over to check the boot of the car, look under beds in hotel rooms.

We talk about ‘the chimp’  in people’s heads the chattering monkey.  But for me there was a real chimp out there and he meant business.  It was my (now) second husband that helped to persuade me I needed to get some help.

BTW I do know how crazy this sounds but that was the point really wasn’t it! :0)

What steps did your recovery take?

I contacted a local hypnotherapist who had advertised I the local paper for a number of years. I thought she could hypnotise it away!  But she didn’t, instead she made me talk about it.

My interest in therapy was starting to take shape.  I had explored counselling.  I was a trained mediator and of course coaching was now in my life.  But talking therapy and cognitive therapy was pivotal for me.

My next journey started as I decided I would look to train as a therapist.   That initial therapy helped me put the chimp away. But I have continued to explore therapy in different forms.  I  continue now to work on my sense of self.

2013 was a major year why?ali moore reconnect your life

It was a busy year!  The start of another new journey in my life.

My partner asked me to have a hand-fasting (pagan wedding) – I said yes.  A couple of months later we made a big decision.   We wanted a baby of our own.   Interestingly we’d not mentioned  living together neither were we planning our wedding.   But curiously  I felt very secure and it wasn’t even on my mind.

To have another baby was huge… to be able to trust someone that much, to risk allowing myself to be that vulnerable again.

Initially I wasn’t sure I could go through that again.  Or put my family through it again.  But when you trust someone and you are able to be really honest with them it is a wonderful feeling.

So, in 2013 I fell pregnant with our son who was born in the following May.

I also agreed to move my family into one house, sell my house that I’d fought so hard to keep.  I also accepted the change to my whole financial situation, by becoming a parent again after 16 years!

How did it feel to lose your financial independence?

Terrifying!

It was the biggest block for me.  It was the main reason I hesitated and didn’t launch my business initially.  I even took another employed role even after I had set everything up.

I need to be able to contribute.  It was also about feeling secure enough that I could trust this would work.

Previously I had been in a position to take on all the financial burden. If this relationship didn’t work out, then I would not be in the same place.

I like my independence and my own money.  I will not ever have a joint bank account again.

reconnection program

This actually started from a selfish point of view.

I had run a very early version of my FindYourRoar workshop, and the women mentioned about feeling like they wanted to stay together.

It got me thinking that I was really missing that community I had in my corporate life.  I wasn’t a coffee morning mum type of person, I loved networking but that was business.  I wanted someone where to meet new women and to have good conversation.

So, my women’s group open to women from all backgrounds started. It has been slow process to get set up.  This is probably because there is nothing else really out there like it in the evenings.

We pick a self-development topic every month. We chat, discuss, share book reviews and importantly make new connections. I now have an established group in Bedford and Milton Keynes and am considering the next steps to expand this community.

DESPITE A very BUSY LIFE, yOU STARTED A DEGREE in 2017!

I am always learning.  I always have a course going on!  But going to University was a real dream for me. I really wanted to have a Uni Campus experience.  It would be very 1960’s Cambridge in my head – but I didn’t have that option!

There was also the fact that I didn’t have A levels and was refused by a certain University!  Even though I had numerous higher diplomas and was running my own business.

So, I contacted the Open University and they were happy to support me so I’m now studying Clinical Psychology.   I want to do a massive shout out here for those that are learning in this way.

There is nothing easy about an Open University degree course. You are basically self-teaching, self-motivated and self-reliant. I do feel stressed as the schedule is tough.   But I am committed and I loving it!  The other major benefit is being able to help my clients through the additional learning.

celebrating life!

This has been another life changer actually. I have always had an interest in faith.  While I’m a   Pagan I’m hugely interested in other faiths and in the new form of spirituality that’s emerging.

I had attended a very dear friends funeral a couple of years ago and a Celebrant had conducted the service.  It felt really personal, but I was surprised that it contained religious pieces.  I thought it had to be Humanist and this would not be right for me. But I discovered you can be a multi-faith celebrant.   The primary benefit is to give your community a wonderful option of how to conduct those important life transitions.

I am now building up my business and my community, in which to practice.  Once agin I’m  connecting with some new and amazing individuals.

Reconnect your life

In December 2018 I became a published author as part of an amazing collaborative project.

Writing is something I love to do, so after being involved in a collaborative project,  I decided to write my own book; Reconnect Your Life, which has just been published.

I was discovering so many stories and bringing together some great material as I built out my Reconnection Programme it seemed like a wonderful way to share with a wider audience.

Determined not to write a book which just focused on my challenges, but to focus on  something that really gave something back in a useful way.

Reconnect Your Life isn’t meant to be aimed at an academic audience but at real people.  It is not designed to replace true therapy support, but it does give a great start to some of the cognitive practices people can do to improve their sense of self.

ali moore published author reconnect your life

Running A business Networking Group

Running two reconnection groups with everything else on your plate would be enough for most women, but you’ve also found time to take on running a business networking group too!  What is this about and what motivated you to get involved with this project?

I seem to just keep adding to my plate, but actually I see this a lot with business women.  We are used to juggling and we like to have lots of diversity in our days.

I was keen to take the word about my business further towards London. I love the Busy Women Networking groups I attended and love collaborating with the owner Aruna Rao.  So rather than join another new group it suited us both for me to open a St Albans based branch.

ali moore empowerment day

How do you maintain any level of self-care?

It’s a hectic life! But I thrive on this, ensuring I get time to myself during the day. Clearing my diary if needed and recognising the signs that mean I am feeling overwhelmed. I eat healthily and practise yoga most mornings.

I surround myself with people who are of a positive nature.

Plus, my husband is super supportive.  He enjoys cooking and I love eating so that’ s a winning partnership!  We share the home responsibilities … and sometimes nothing is better than a glass of bubbly in the bath!

If you had the opportunity to advise your 15-year-old self what would that be?

Gosh that is a big question! I would say … life is going to be an adventure- there will be wonderful moments and there are going to be times you feel you are drinking the bitterest of lemon juice … but you will rise, and you will shine … stay strong!

WHAT’S NEXT?

My overall dream for the business is to establish the Bemoore Foundation. A place for women of all ages and backgrounds to feel comfortable coming to, for support.   With teenage programmes and funding available alongside the private practice.

We are just launching our first Roaring4Life teenage programme in a local Milton Keynes school, so the future is already starting to emerge.

reconnect your life and connect with ali

As I said at the beginning Ali is one of the most inspiring women I know.   If you’d like to find our more about   Ali’s work then follow her at the BeMoore foundation

 

keep moth infestation at bay with lavender

Moth Infestation? How To Win The War

You know that beautiful cashmere jumper you put back in the wardrobe after Christmas?

You’ve been looking forward to wearing it to a family lunch. You take it out of the wardrobe and pull it on to admire yourself in the mirror.  Imagine your horror when you find the moths have been making short work of your precious jumper.

So what can you do about it? Sadly not a lot about the cashmere jumper but the good news is that you can eliminate a moth infestation from your wardrobe and home with a few simple steps that I’ll take you through in today’s blog.

Rapid Rise Of Moth Infestations

Last summer there were several reports that suggested that moth infestations were on the rise.  The weather was blamed but in fact the Butterfly Conservation charity suggests that moth infestations have been on the rise over the last 20-30 years.

Rentokil and English Heritage both report an huge increase in moth infestations too.

They are more likely to occur in houses built before 1950s.  These properties have more access to the outside (fireplaces, attics larders etc).

Alarming Rise Of Moth Infestations – Why?

There are a couple of reasons cited why there are more clothing moth infestations:

  1. Centrally Heated Houses – our homes are always warm, providing an attractive breeding environment for moths.
  2. Natural Fibres – ironically our move towards more natural fibres and away from nylon and polyester in clothing is more attractive to moths.
  3. Laundering At Lower Temperatures – moth larvae is killed off at 55oC – how often do you wash your clothes at this temperature?

dealing with a moth infestation

How Do You Deal With A Moth Epidemic?

The simple answer is that you need to eliminate the infestation and then take steps to prevent the moths coming back.  This is how:

Deep Clean Your Wardrobe

You need to deep clean your wardrobe and the only way to do this is remove everything.

Once you’ve removed everything you need to vacuum your your wardrobe – remember to do all the corners and drawers.

Wipe down the inside of your wardrobe with vinegar and water solution or soap and water.

Launder Everything

Wash or dry-clean all of your clothes.  Alternatively if you have the space you can put your clothes in plastic bags and freeze them for 48-hours.   You need to do this to kill off all the larvae.

Spring Clean Your Bedroom

Hoover and clean carpets and floors thoroughly.  Although moth infestations breed in your wardrobe larvae can get into carpets and surrounding areas.

Use Garment Bags For Out Of Season Clothes

When you no longer need your jumpers and warmer clothes store these in garment bags with cedar wood sticks.  Use cotton garment bags to avoid the risk of mould and discolouration.  Cotton garment bags allow your clothes to breathe.

Keep Moths At Bay The Natural Way

Moths hate thyme, lavender, cloves, mint and bay leaves.

Why not make your own natural repellent?  The added bonus is that it will also smell lovely in your wardrobe.

Place dried rosemary, thyme, cloves, lavender or bay leaves into a small cloth bag and hang them in your wardrobe and place them in your drawers.

You can also use an essential oil diffuser with a blend of these oils in your room.

keep moth infestation at bay with lavender

Another Great Trick

Use cedar wood products in your drawers and wardrobes.  Clothes hangers, wooden balls for your drawers or discs to hang on clothes hangers are all great ways to prevent moths returning.

If you’re unlucky enough to have suffered a moth infestation then hopefully this blog will help you to get rid of the moths and stop them returning.

Beware Vintage

Vintage clothes, particularly this in the natural fibres that moths love may be a source of moth larvae.   If in doubt then it’s best to launder or dry clean your vintage purchases before you add to your wardrobe collection.

While You’re Here!

One way to ensure you reduce the risk of moths is to give them less opportunity to breed and feed on your clothes.  If you have less clothes in your wardrobe then the larvae has less to get its teeth into!  Why not take the opportunity to declutter your wardrobe either as a prevention against moths or simply as part of your wardrobe de-infestation.    Not sure where to start?  Why not join my FREE Wardrobe Challenge starting on 13th March – Clutter to Wardrobe Harmony in 7-days?  All you need to do is sign up here.

 

Join The Challenge!

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look and feel fabulous

What Has Love Got To Do With It?

To really look and feel fabulous you have got to love what you are wearing.  It increases our confidence tenfold (at least). If what you’re wearing doesn’t make you look and feel fabulous you’re missing out on an opportunity.look and feel fabulous

One of the first questions I ask my clients is what is your favourite outfit, piece of jewellery or item of clothing.

When they tell me, I ask them more about it.  Initially without them showing me because I want them to help me understand why it’s special.

  1. Is it the colour?
  2. Or the shape?
  3. Do you look and feel fabulous when you wear it?
  4. Does it evoke happy memories?
  5. Did you buy it for a special occasion?
  6. Was it an investment piece?
  7. Do you receive lots of compliments whenever you wear it?

Finally – how often do you wear it? Very often this will reveal that the item is hardly ever worn because it’s special.   While I’m an advocate of not keeping things for best I accept that not everything is suitable for everyday.

But the reason we do the exercise is to draw out the answers. When you know what it is that makes you look and feel fabulous beyond ‘this dress’ it’s so much easier to replicate.

So let me show you an example of my own go to piece that makes me look and feel fabulous every time I wear it.

The Necklace That Makes Me Look And Feel Fabulousthe necklace that makes me feel amazing

The Colour

I love the colour because it goes with anything.  When it catches the light it changes colour.   Because it’s a cool colour this helps my features stand out. So the colour really does make me look and feel fabulous.

The Shape

The shape certainly is an influencer because it hits most of my style keywords: dramatic, quirky, fun and passionate.  You can’t fail to notice it and it represents who I am and what my brand is about.

Does It Make Me Look And Feel Fabulous?

Oh hell yes!  Every time I wear it I feel a million dollars and for that reason it was worth every darn penny I spent on it.

I also bought a bracelet and earrings with the necklace.  I love the bracelet too and have worn it so often that I had to have it restrung.

Does It Evoke Happy Memories?do I receive lots of compliments when I wear my favourite piece

Not that I specifically attach to the necklace.

Did I Buy It For A Special Occasion?

No it was an impulse purchase at an exhibition of a jewellery designer I’d been introduced to. She had an open house.  I went along with the approach that I’d feel morally obliged to spend money.

Was It An Investment Piece?

At the time it was an investment. I’d recently finished my corporate career, had no money coming in.  I felt quite guilty about spending the money.  I even agonized over whether I should ask the designer for a refund!

Do I Receive Lots Of Compliments When I Wear It?

Yes I do and I take from this that it’s not simply the necklace, but it’s the way it makes me look and feel fabulous.   It ensures I feel more confident and that’s going to impact the way I walk in a room and present myself.

 

But What If You Don’t Wear Your Favourite Piece Very Often

The aim of this exercise is to see what it is about the item or outfit that makes it special.    With clothing in particular break it down further to include:

  1. Fabric – texture, print
  2. Details about the shape – hemline, sleeve length, neckline, the cut
  3. Details of the garment – trims, quality of manufacture

Then take a look in your wardrobe and see if there is anything else that is similar. Perhaps with a bit of help from a seamstress you could make it more like your favourite piece?   Or if it’s the colour and you don’t have anything else the same colour would you be able to use accessories to replicate the colour with other clothes?

But even if the answer is still I haven’t got anything else, what you have now got is a blueprint and a very clear idea of what makes you look and feel fabulous.  This is so important when you are shopping and helps you to avoid mistakes.  It doesn’t mean you have to clone your favourite outfit when you shop! But it does mean you have a better understand of what really works for you.

So that’s what love has got to do with it!  Happy Valentines!

 

If You Want To Look & Feel Fabulous Try This Exercise Yourself

Download my checklist to help you determine what is your favourite piece in your wardrobe.

Download My Free Guide Look & Feel Fabulous

Download My Free Guide

add colour to your winter wardrobe with your footwear

How To Re-Boost Your Winter Wardrobe In February

Are you sick of your winter wardrobe?  It’s about this time of year when the first shoots of spring appear, which is when I start thinking about changing my look.  I don’t have a huge collection of clothes, preferring instead to play around with different combinations.  So this makes me more aware of the value of accessories to help create different looks.  It’s key to think outside the box and experiment especially when you’re starting to get fed up with your winter wardrobe.

Spring Summer clothes are starting to make an appearance online and offline but the weather’s not right to wear them yet.  Of course the next round of fashion weeks is about to start and showcase what we’ll be wearing in SS20!

So what can you do to give your winter wardrobe a boost of sunshine?  In this week’s blog we look at some quick tips to help you feel that spring really is just round the corner.

Swap Your Handbagwinter wardrobe add a colourful handbag

Around 34% of women have lots of handbags, but tend to stick to the same one all the time. Why? They’re afraid of forgetting something if they keep changing handbags.

The best way to avoid this is to get yourself a bag liner that is big enough for all your essentials and fits in your bags.  Then make sure all the less valuable but nonetheless essential items are in each of your bags (tissues, pen, lipstick, business cards etc).

But I digress it’s my guess that you may have opted for a dark colour handbag for winter to blend in to your outfits.  Why not swap to a lovely bright colour bag or a beautiful pastel shade.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t match/blend in with your outfit.  So long as you’re not self-conscious about it, just make a statement instead!

Add A Belt To Your Look

Hands up if you don’t wear a belt because you think it will draw attention to the wrong part of your body?  28% of women don’t wear belts for exactly that reason!   But the irony is that a belt can help you create curves and definition to enhance your figure.

A belt is also a great way to change the look of a dress or top.  By wearing something with a belt that you don’t normally it will create a different look.   A sweater dress with a belt, tights and ankle boots is a great way to create a new look for example.  This helps you to extend your winter wardrobe.

Give Your Winter Wardrobe A Boost With A Brooch

How many of us wear brooches these days?  Not many I’ll guess.  We tend to think of brooches as a bit old-fashioned.  We associate them as accessories our grandmothers or aging aunts used to wear.

But if you are getting fed up with wearing your winter coat, adding a brooch is a great way to give it a new lease of life.  Add a pop of colour and statement sparkle to your look.   Check out your local charity shops or vintage stores.   Etsy also has a great collection of brooches.

Add Some Colour To Your Footwearadd colour to your winter wardrobe with your footwear

Most of us gravitate to dark footwear in the winter.   Lots of black, browns and dark greys.  It doesn’t show the mud or matter if it gets splashed so much as brighter colours.

But how about adding a pair of coloured ankle boots to jeans? Make them a feature of your outfit. I have a gorgeous pair of pink satin ankle boots that admittedly I wouldn’t wear outside this time of year. But I love wearing them so much that I’ll happily put them in a bag and take them with me to change into for events.

Bright colours are a great way to cheer yourself up.

Change Your Jewellery With Your Winter Outfits

I bet that you’ve got lots of necklaces you don’t wear in winter?

Either because you think the colours ‘aren’t right’ or you associate them with summer.  Well try a bit of mix and matching.    Add a more summery style of necklace to a winter outfit and see how it looks.

Add pastel colours to black brown or grey.  Just see how different they make your outfit look.use accessories to add colour to your winter outfit

Or taking from one of my tips last week.  If the weather does turn cold again, ditch the metal jewellery in favour of acrylic or plastic jewellery.  The metal will conduct the cold outside temperatures.  I found this out when we used to ski and I’d insist on wearing metal earrings and wonder why my ears were cold!

Accessories Are The Key

Hopefully these ideas are useful and may even inspire you to create some new looks and breath some fresh styles into your winter outfits?

The ideas I’ve suggested all involve accessories but if you’re not confident about choosing and wearing accessories you may be interested in my online course Accessorise with Style & Confidence.  Where you will learn how to choose and use accessories to suit you personally.  Learn how to create more outfits without buying more clothes.

Keep Warm In Style With A Pashmina

How To Keep Warm In Style

Hands up I’ve been the idiot who has tried to made the effort to Keep Warm in Style and got it all wrong.  Keep Warm In Style

Like the time we went to Norfolk in December when I insisted on wearing a furry jacket for a beach walk.  It looked glam but was no match for the horizontal wind coming off the North Sea!  Or the ski pants from the designer Italian boutique which looked fabulous but had zero wind protection especially on the chairlifts!

But I’m no good at the Teletubby look, buried beneath tons of layers.  It might be practical but it makes me feel rubbish and that’s never going to work!   So that’s why I love to use accessories and base layers to Keep Warm in Style without sacrificing either comfort or my look. Here are my top tips, hope you find them useful.

Keep Warm In Style With Inside and Outside Scarves!

Why wear one scarf when you can wear at least two?

I like to wear a scarf to complete my outfit and then add another heavy outdoor scarf when I’m heading outside.   This works really well when I’m out at meetings and not sure about the venue.

Top tip to keep warm in style: I also add a necklace.  If I get overheated I can take the inside scarf off and still feel accessorized. , so that if I do get overheated then I can remove the ‘inside scarf’ and still feel accessorized!

 

Think Thermal!Keep Warm In Style Bella di Notte Thermal Vest

Gone are the days when thermal meant looking old and frumpy!  I firmly believe that the rise in popularity of skiing holidays helped to take thermal fashion to another level.

Merino wool or pure silk thermals were perfect when Mark and I skied every winter.  But in the UK I’m going to overheat wearing those base layers.   But if you do feel the chill there are some fabulous styles available.  I particularly love this one from Bella di Notte. I find that simply wearing a light camisole as an extra base layer works for me on the top.

Top Tip To Keep Warm in Style: To keep my legs warm and toasty invest in a pair of fleece-lined leggings.  You only need to pay around £10 to get a really warm pair.

Gloves + Hand Warmers = Toast!

Seriously I’m the worst about wearing gloves.  I have really dry skin and am outside a lot with the dogs, but wearing normal gloves doesn’t work for me.   I also have very small hands and fingers so find that gloves always feel too cumbersome.

Flexibility is key with the dogs, clipping and unclipping leads, getting treats out (essential for dog walking!).  Gloves don’t do this and mittens are a disaster, so I wear fingerless gloves.   However, this doesn’t solve the problem of cold fingers!

Top Tip To Keep Warm In Style: By a pair of reusable hand warmers to put in your coat or jacket pockets.

I have a set that you activate by clicking the metal disc inside the hand warmer. The gel in the pack starts to crystallise and heat up.

They stay warm for up to around 30 minutes. This is enough time for me to get my body temperature up.   When you get home simply immerse in boiling water for 15 minutes and the crystals will become liquid again. Wait for the hand warmer to cool and it is ready to reuse!  The fact that they’re reusable, non-toxic makes them a winner in terms of their eco-credentials.

Who Else Hates Wearing Tights Under Trousers?

Wearing tights with trousers is a no-no for me. I hate the feeling of being warm and sweaty around my belly – sorry if too much information!

If you’re out and about in Winter particularly if you’re waiting for public transport trousers aren’t always warm enough.

Top tip to Keep Warm In Style: wear hold ups not tights under trousers. This will keep you warm in style and you won’t end up with a hot belly or worse still another layer to manage in the bathroom!

You can also try wearing hold ups under leggings for an extra base layer.

Keep Warm In Style But Don’t Overheat!

If you suffer from irregular body temperature such as menopausal hot flushes this one is for you.

You’re better to keep your base layer the smartest sassiest layer.  What do I mean by that?  Simply wear additional layers that you can take off and still look and feel fabulous.

You want to avoid ending up a hot and sticky mess!  Then you have the dilemma of do I go to the toilet to take everything off and re-dress without the base layer? Or do you brave it out and end up feeling really self-conscious?

Top tip to Keep Warm In Style:  Shawl scarves and/or pashminas are perfect for this.  Wear over your winter coat to finish off your look.  Then you have an extra layer should you need it indoors.   If you tend to wear a lot of dark colours in the winter then a brightly coloured pashmina there’s an amazing range at Absolute Exclusive very reasonably priced.

What are your top tips for keeping warm in style?

I’d love to hear them! Please pop them in the comments below.

 

Accessorise With Style & Confidence

Would you love to create more outfits from your wardrobe without buying more clothes?  Feel more confident about choosing and using accessories?

Acccessorise With Style & Confidence is a head to toe course, giving you the tools you need to transform your look from the ordinary to the extraordinary with accessories to suit your personal shape and style.

Built in bite-sized modules to help you look and feel fabulous every time you get dressed.

 

fat shaming will not work

How To Get Over Fat Shaming Right Now

Fat Shaming will not help cure the Obesity Crisis.   We need to remove the social stigma associated with obesity.  We’ve proven that making it easier for people to talk about stigmatized health conditions is enormously beneficial.  But we still have the barrier to break down in terms of obesity.  This week is National Obesity Awareness Week in the UK.  Hence I’m debunking some of the myths associated with the attitude towards obesity.

Fat Shaming Won’t Help

fat shaming is not the answerI despise any kind of body shaming whether it’s fat shaming or skinny shaming.  It’s bullying and downright harmful.

Fat shaming someone who is obese is unlikely to encourage anyone to change their lifestyle.   People who respond positively to being shamed are relatively uncommon.  If you doubt this my recommended reading is Gretchen Rubin – The Four Tendencies.

Fat Shaming is more likely to reinforce their feelings of low self-esteem and may lead to more comfort eating.

I was overweight as a teenager and was bullied for it.  I’d been underweight until I was 6 years old and had a tonsillectomy.  My parents so overjoyed that I was at last enjoying food encouraged me to eat and eat.  While my own unhealthy relationship with food then later manifested itself as anorexia, this had nothing to do with being bullied for my weight.

 

It’s Just A Matter Of Calories In Versus Calories Outfat shaming not simply calories in and calories out

It’s easy you don’t need to be fat you just need to consume less calories than you burn (Calories In V Calories Out  – CICO)

This is a more insidious attempt at fat shaming.  Implying that people merely need to eat less and stop being lazy.

Dr Jason Fung states before 1980 we didn’t count calories.  He argues that we ate without knowing how many calories we consumed. We expended calories without knowing how many we burnt.  He argues that myths perpetuated about CICO benefited the US corporations who drove these messages for the purpose of their own bottom line.

Is this a cynical view or simply reality?  This week I read that McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy’s had spent $1Billion on advertising targeted at Black and Hispanic youth.  If this wasn’t bad enough  they’d all pledged to support healthier lifestyles to deprived groups.

 

Fat Shaming Is the Same As Skinny Shamingfat shaming not the same as skinny shaming

No it’s not!

As above I don’t condone any form of body shaming.    But skinny shaming is not the same as fat shaming.  I have friends who are naturally petite and get upset when they are told – you must have an eating disorder.  But this is not the same as the every day discrimination and humiliation levied at obese people in every aspect of life.

Michael Hobbes – Huffington Post Highline Article ‘Everything you know about obesity is wrong’ . He cited how one reader told me that unsolicited diet advice from strangers feels overtly worse than direct comments about weight.   Another said she leaves the room when her colleagues start talking about their new diets.  This is because it’s only a matter of time before a woman smaller than her describes herself as “huge.”

 

Let’s Get Children More Active And They’ll Lose Weight

Well I would never disagree with more activity.  There are incalculable benefits to more activity including:fat shaming we must educate children

  • More face to face social interaction;
  • Team sports and events improving their people skills as well as exercise benefits;
  • Improved sleep patterns with reduced screen time;
  • Emotional wellbeing of being outdoors particularly in nature.

Interestingly a number of international studies looked at healthy eating and more activity within children.  They found that while the combination didn’t have a massive impact on weight academic results improved.

But we do need to educate and help children from an early age without creating issues regarding food.  My own mother was a habitual dieter.  She had a relationship with food that consisted of deprivation followed by indulgence.  She loved food but was on a diet whenever her weight crept up again.  Of course her body suffered.  Her disordered eating had, at the very least, a sub-conscious impact on my own relationship with food.

 

Featuring Large Models Glamorises Obesity

No it doesn’t.diversity representing society on the catwalk

I’m a huge advocate for diversity on the catwalk and within the media to represent Society.  It’s vital that people don’t feel discriminated against. They should be able to relate to what is on the catwalk and in the media.

The outcry in October 2018 over Cosmopolitan’s Cover featuring Tess Halliday last year got the fat shaming brigade ranting and raving.    Led by Piers Morgan whose argument was that the cover made it acceptable to be obese.

Everyone deserves to feel positive about themselves.  Equally everyone should have access to education, information and support to lead a healthier lifestyle.

What we need to do is create a culture where fat discrimination is ostracized. People are encouraged to have a positive attitude towards their own bodies, which is fundamentally the aim of the body positivity movement.

Summary

We need to de-stigmatize obesity in the same way we’re creating a culture that allows us to talk about Mental Health.

Last summer an electrician visited my house and the conversation turned to photography. He shared with me his passion for photography and painting.  When I asked if he’d always enjoyed being creative he said he’d never tried it until he started to use it to help with his mental health.   How many complete strangers (particularly men) would have opened up like that even a year ago?

Obesity isn’t simply about physical health it’s equally about mental health and emotional wellbeing.   We have made fantastic progress with regard to mental health let’s replicate that with obesity.

 

Like to feel more confident about your body?  Why not take a look at my 3 top tips to be body positive by clicking on the link below.

 

 

 

getting dressed up

When Did You Last Get Really Dressed Up?

Do you remember the last time you really made an effort and got dressed up?make up feeling dressed up

I’ve got a confession to make – I’m not dressed up!  I feel a bit of a fraud sitting here in jogging bottoms and a t-shirt writing this!!  But my excuse is that I’ve just applied a liberal dose of fake tan!    I was feeling a bit pale and wintry but a slap of St Tropez has made me feel so much better!

However I’ve been carrying out a little experiment over the past few weeks and it’s proved my theory.  I have been applying make up even if I’ve got a day in the office.  I also add add jewellery and a nice pair of jeans/top.  Result I feel better and am attracting more clients.  Somehow I don’t think that the two are disconnected.

 

Most Of Us Feel More Confident When We Look Fabulous.

For many of us this means wearing an outfit that really makes us feel good.

business suit getting dressed upReading a  forum thread on this subject it was interesting that many of the guys commenting said how much more confident they felt when wearing a decent suit.   Many women feel empowered when they wear heels.  But so often we dress down and find ourselves relaxing into a casual/comfortable look.

Look back at photos from the 1950s/1960s and it seems like people made more effort and really dressed up when they went out.    I remember that even in 1960s my father never visited the pub without a cravat and shirt.

Now it seems a greater social faux pas to be over dressed rather than under dressed.   Is it because we have a real desire to fit in or we don’t really have dress codes any more – other than ‘smart casual’?  A term that strikes terror into many of my client’s hearts!  How do you define smart casual or is it just a cop out?? A subject for another blog, methinks.

So why don’t we get dressed up anymore?  I personally believe that there are a plethora of reasons as to why our approach to getting dressed up has changed.    I thought I’d explore a few here and then invite you to comment.

1. Price of Clothes And The Value We Place On Themfast fashion dressed up

Fast fashion has seen clothing getting ever cheaper and as a result I believe we don’t value it as much.  When we place less value on something we treat it with less respect.

Go back 50+ years and people would have only had a couple or handful of outfits to wear when they were going out. They took more care and pride in their clothes.

2. Cultural Changes

Undoubtedly the huge cultural shifts from the 1960s onwards had a massive impact on fashion.  At first this was a trend towards breaking cultural norms in fashion.

Fashion became more about standing out and making a statement.  Pop culture, to glam rock, power dressing from 1960s to 1980s.    All about making a statement and for most people unless they worked in fashion, PR or the creative arts, a distinction was needed between a work wardrobe and a dressed up look for going out.

The grunge and gothic look of the 1990s started to then set a more casual trend.

3. The World Got Smaller!laptop lifestyle dressed up

Well of course it didn’t physically but in terms of how we started to copy others’ dress cultures it certainly did.

This seems so relevant to the workplace.   A European influence of men not wearing ties, to the US ‘dress down Friday’  – that’s now become more Monday-Friday both having a huge impact.  This has come not simply from films and TV influences but also US and European companies coming over and setting up in the UK.

Also, as more people work from home whether for an employer or self-employed, the dress down culture goes hand in hand with the laptop lifestyle.

4. Activities Valued Differently

It used to be custom for people who traveled by air to get dressed up. Air travel was a privilege and was treated as such.  Cheap airlines and flights have put paid to that particular trend and now (quite rightly) comfort is key.

Although from experience I know that when I traveled for work and took a change of clothing with me on the flight. I felt better if I’d made the effort to put on make up and change my outfit before we landed.

Recently a keen theatre going friend and I were discussing why going to the theatre is no longer an occasion where you get dressed up.  I personally don’t believe that this is about theatre tickets being relatively cheaper.  But, especially in London, I believe that many of us combine a trip to the theatre with other activities.

5. Athleisure Trendsneakers dressed up

This sports style dress down look of trainers; jogging pants and gym wear doubling as Streetwear started a few years ago.  It started to really gain traction in 2014, and industry statistics show it started to take market share from the jeans market around this time.

The growth in health and fitness trends has undoubtedly also had an influence on this lifestyle trend as well.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we did make more effort to get dressed up occasionally?

getting dressed upClothes can be so powerful in terms of impacting the way we feel about ourselves.

In Brutally Honest by Melanie Brown, she describes how putting on sexy figure hugging dress transformed her.  She discharged herself from hospital against her doctor’s advice.  The dress and make up meant she was able to take up her role as a judge for the 2014 X-Factor Final.

So I’m inviting you as we enter the Festive Season to think twice and get dressed up!  Put your sparkly dress on and celebrate with family and friends.  Your Onesie or Christmas Jumper won’t be offended if they end up back in the wardrobe!

Why not leave me a comment to let me know any reasons you believe we don’t get dressed up anymore?

 

Finally…..

My top tip…. If you want a very simple way to get dressed up then simply put on a simple plain dress or top and put on some sparkly accessories to complete the look!

 

 

 

 

 

inspiring women bonnie s. hardie homeless for two years

Being Homeless Is It Your Worst Nightmare?

Is the thought of being homeless your worst nightmare?  I know it’s mine.inspiring women bonnie s. hardie homeless for two years

Heck I can’t even entertain the idea of doing The Big Sleep Out.   Incidentally, a friend of mine did it last year and said that it was incredibly hard.   She also shared with me that they had it ‘easy’ with hot food before and after the event, a ground sheet and an insulating layer of plastic bubble wrap….

The image of homelessness conjures up an image and we often associate it with substance abuse or mental health issues.  But what if you became homeless through a perfect storm of circumstances?  You’d been in full time employment, been living a comfortable life and then it all changed.

My latest inspiring woman interview is with Bonnie S Hardie.   Bonnie is a bubbly, confident entrepreneur, supporting business owners, with her services as a Virtual Assistant and Social Media Expert.  Bonnie lives in Florida with her two gorgeous kittens.  I was speechless when I discovered she’d been homeless for nearly two years (2015-2017).    Her story of resilience and determination is simply inspiring.

What Were The Circumstances Leading To You Becoming Homeless?

Several things led up to my being homeless.  I sustained a severe knee injury at work. I was working in a restaurant and so had to give up my job.    Unfortunately the knee injury had revealed more extensive problems with my knees. While I was cleared to go back to work after the injury I struggled to find a job.

I applied for benefits but it’s an extremely long and arduous process in the US.  I had no choice but to give up my accommodation, as I could no longer pay the rent.

A neighbour and I made an agreement.  I would move in with her and help her with her mother who had Alzheimer’s.  In return for helping her mother at night, when my neighbour worked I would live rent-free.    Sadly only about three weeks into the arrangement her mother passed away.

We then made a new agreement that I would pay one week’s rent and she would pay the next week.    This only lasted about a month before she decided to move to another state.   I was unable to pay for the full amount of the rent on my own after this.

 

homeless living in a tentWhy Didn’t You Consider Yourself Homeless When You Lived In A Tent?

I didn’t consider myself “homeless” because I had a roof over my head and a bed to sleep on.  I was living in a tent and sleeping on an Air Mattress. Instead I looked at it as being on an extended camping trip.  Albeit without some of the comforts that we often take for granted on camping holidays.

What Was The Worst Thing About Being Homeless?

Having to deal with possums, raccoons and snakes coming up to my tent at night to chew on it!

Being regularly asked if I had any drugs or alcohol (I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs).

Other people. Those who judged me, showed a complete lack of respect and were rude, simply because of the way they viewed someone who was homeless.

The most frightening aspect was not having anyone to trust.

What Were Your Positive Takeaways From Being Homeless

It was down to me I only had myself to rely on.

I am a very resilient person so I dug deep and this helped me to stay strong.   I managed to detach myself from the situation, to appreciate that it was happening for me and not to me.

Luckily I had neither animals nor children, so with no dependents it was easier.   I really learned to appreciate what I did have.  It was a great opportunity to learn a lot about myself during this time.

I met a lot of different people who were also homeless.  They all had fascinating stories about how they’d become homeless.

Very often other homeless people were accommodating than non-homeless people.    They were not judgmental.

 

If People You Knew Found Out You Were Homeless How Did They React?

I did not tell too many people about my situation because I was embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I was homeless.

Those I did tell were people at places where I hung out during the day (Library, Grocery Store, Coffee Shops) and they were generally nice.

It certainly helped that I made an extreme effort to stay clean (showering every day at a campsite). I was always polite to everyone I met and this meant others responded to me more positively.

 

What Impact Has Being Homeless Had On You As A Person?

I am more empathetic and sympathetic towards other people.

Before I was homeless, I got to know several homeless people.  They would come in to the restaurant where I worked.  I was always nice to them and treated them with respect. But being homeless has meant that I’m even more empathetic and sympathetic towards others.

It’s also fair to say that I am much more appreciative of what I have now.

 

It Is Easy To Judge People In A Negative Way Who Are Homeless How Did You Cope With That?

There were always a few “Negative Nellie’s”!   Some people would insinuate that I was: lazy, a scammer, a bum and so on.  So I just did my best to ignore them.

I am the only person who knows everything about what happened during the 2 years that I was homeless. I tried my best to do what I could with what I had.

Has Your Attitude Towards Homeless People Changed?

I was always empathetic to homeless people, even before it happened to me.

How can you judge someone when you don’t know his or her circumstances?  You don’t know the story of why they became homeless.

What Would Be Your Advice To Anyone Facing Homelessness?homeless reframing

Just stay strong.  I know that might sound easier said than done, but try to reframe your negatives into positives.   So for example:

  • I considered that sleeping outside meant I was getting plenty of fresh air;
  • While I had no car, I did have a bike and that meant I got plenty of exercise;
  • Although I had no shoes I had a pair of flip-flops. This helped me to develop a cool tan line!

Are There Charities In The US Who Support The Homeless?

Currently in the county I live in there are no homeless shelters.  There are a few Churches who help the homeless.  But transportation is often a barrier to getting to the facilities.

I applied for and was granted Food Stamps, which helped me to buy food.  But with no cooking or refrigeration facilities my choices were limited as to what I could eat.  Hot dogs or pasta out of a tin were regular meals for me.

How Did You Turn Things Around?homeless mindset and self-belief

It was a long process.

I had to do a lot of Mindset work to get my confidence back.   I had to believe that I had gifts to share with the world.

Luckily I was able to connect online with an awesome Mindset and Business Coach – Liz Hancock from England.

Liz believed in me more that I believed in myself.  It was through her that I recovered my confidence and self-esteem. Without her help I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Liz and the other people in her private coaching group were very supportive of me and they always encouraged me.

We figured out what my Zone of Genius was & I was able to start offering Virtual Assistant, Social Media Marketing and Research Services on Facebook.  I’m now proud to say that I have a great business with international clients and am in a much better place.

Care Bags For The Homeless

A project that I am working on right now is : “CARE BAGS FOR THE HOMELESS” — Putting the following in plastic bags: water — socks — hand sanitizer — tissues — lip balm — snacks ,etc. These can be filled for about $5 each.  My plan is to hand out at least 150 of them.   If you wish to donate follow the link: :

Do You Have A Story To Tell?

I’m looking for inspiring women to feature on my blog for 2019.  You may think that you’re not very inspiring but I can promise you that the adversities we overcome and the challenges we deal with in everyday life are often the most inspiring.  If you’re interested in being interviewed for 2019, please click fill in the form below.

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