To trust or not to trust?

To trust or not to trust?

You’ve started your business and you are so excited and want to share your wonderful concept with the world.

two rocks posing as people holding hands

Immediately the fears creep in.  What if someone else thinks it’s a good idea and tries to steal it.

When is it right to trust or not to trust that instinct?

The wrong tone

That spirit of fear, or distrust, is now contaminating your copy.

You temper your tone and are careful who you mention, keeping the attention firmly on yourself and not crediting anyone else.

Perhaps you are a bit cagey about exactly what’s on offer – you don’t wish to give too many secrets away. 

The right energy

There is an art to gaining attention and drip-feeding content for momentum and a big reveal.  Done with fear your energy will be off.

Trust in yourself and your product or service and be open to sharing.

Ask yourself, what is that fear really about?

It is doubt about whether you are good enough? Do you have a fear about someone else being better than you?  Are you feeling the dreaded imposter syndrome?

Recognise this for what it really is.  Take some time before you write, post, call and share your news to get in the right positive energy.

Get over yourself

Usually your business concept will be done by someone already – there is very rarely a completely unique idea. 

Do some market research.  Who is the competition and what are they offering?  Don’t go down that rabbit hole of not being as good as them.  Remember, you are the unique element of what you offer as nobody can do you. Get over yourself and own that talent that got you here in the first place!

Competition can be a good thing.  Coffee anyone?  How many artisan coffee shops are in your local town?  Which ones do you visit?  The one or two that resonate with you, that have the friendly barista or your favourite cake?  So everyone comes to your town for great coffee – not everyone chooses the same coffee shop. People will choose you, the others are not the enemy.

What are you missing?

Could you collaborate with another outfit that is similar to yours?  Do you offer an element that they don’t and visa versa, meaning you can offer a bigger or better package to your clients?

What about the possibility of sending work to each other when you are too busy?  Have a grown-up conversation at the outset about the arrangement and keep a note of what happens.  If you are willing and open to try it may work out really well for both parties.  If not, you can politely withdraw from the arrangement at any time.

Act with fear and shut others out and you may damage your reputation in the community.

You can get burnt

There is always a risk in working with others – but that attitude of mistrusting everyone will not serve you well in business.

Work out the upside and the potential downside.   

Go back to your strategy.  Can this relationship/arrangement help you achieve your goals?

Obviously we have all had a bad experience, one that we wish we had not allowed to happen, but you will learn so much more from the odd mistake.

With experience you become more confident about your decision-making process and know when it’s right to trust or not to trust that opportunity or person. 

Are you ready to start your own business (with or without chocolate) and feel that fear but do it anyway – trust yourself and put your faith and trust in the good ones out there. Good luck.

100 Ways to Unwind!

100 Ways to Unwind!

A list of 100 ways to unwind – because it’s all about YOU

A landscape at dusk
  1. Breathe – sit quietly, notice your breath in and out, breathe deeply
  2. Walk barefoot on the grass
  3. Sign up for a yoga class
  4. Have a PJ day
  5. Light a smelly candle and let the smell calm your senses
  6. Take a long, hot soak in the bath
  7. Meditate – as little as 5 mins a day can be beneficial, set a timer, get quiet and let thoughts flow, you can download guided meditations if that is helpful for you
  8. Visit the woods – hear the rustle of the leaves, the snap of a twig, notice the light filtering through the canopy, the majesty and strength of the trees
  9. Start the day with some yoga poses (use youtube to find out how to do them properly)
  10. Visit the sea, listen to the sound of the waves
  11. Watch the sunrise, notice the potential in a new day
  12. Watch the sunset, notice the beauty at the end of the day, and be thankful for at least one good thing in your life right now
  13. Celebrate a full moon, stand and wonder at the bright moon in a vast sky
  14. Sign up for a Pilates class
  15. Take a walk in nature – notice your surroundings, the sounds, the fields, the trees, the sunshine, the rain, the sky, the clouds
  16. Read a book
  17. Journal your feelings – find a lovely notebook and write regularly
  18. Go for a swim
  19. Visit the mountains, take in the view
  20. Drink lots of water
  21. Enjoy some peace and quiet and some alone time
  22. Go for a jog or run – studies have recently shown and even a short run each week is beneficial
  23. Sit by the bank of a river and watch the water flow, imagine your worries flowing by
  24. Get baking or cooking and notice the lovely smells permeating the home
  25. Have a cuppa
  26. Talk to a good friend
  27. Visit a museum
  28. Buy a colouring book and some decent pens – do some colouring
  29. Watch your diet, enjoy eating healthy foods and avoid too many sugary snacks
  30. Can you break down what you are worried about?  Set aside sometime each day to worry – instead of allowing worries to undermine you all the time, say to yourself, you will worry about that at ‘worry time’ and sit and think about all those things that are worrying you in detail.  Some you may be able to fix, some you will not.  Acknowledge each thing you are worried about and then move on until the next worry time.
  31. Go to a fitness class
  32. Stick on your favourite tune and dance around the kitchen
  33. Watch something easy and light on TV
  34. Listen to your favourite podcast
  35. Read/watch or listen to someone inspirational – Ted Talks have lots of wonderful options to choose from
  36. Book yourself a massage or other beauty/relaxation treatment
  37. Eat a little dark chocolate
  38. Declutter a cupboard, a room, or a space such as your desk
  39. Do a crossword/quiz or sudoku
  40. Have a laugh; listen to comedy, joke around with friends, watch a comedy show
  41. Draw or paint something
  42. Do your favourite sporting activity
  43. Take up a new sporting activity
  44. Spend time with animals – visit the zoo or a farm
  45. Take the dog for a walk or spend time with your pet(s), join in with a friend on a dog walk if you don’t have a dog yourself
  46. Play an instrument
  47. Hug a tree
  48. Watch children playing
  49. Do some retail therapy – maybe just some window shopping will be enough
  50. Create time in the day to think or daydream
  51. Go for a cycle ride or a spin class
  52. Go fishing or sit watching someone else fishing
  53. Climb a hill (or mountain) and enjoy the view from the top
  54. Visit an art gallery
  55. Watch a film at the cinema
  56. Go to the ballet/theatre
  57. Buy yourself some flowers
  58. Work in the garden, allotment or help someone else with their garden/allotment (even a planter or window box will suffice)
  59. Be grateful for what you have
  60. Try essential oils and aromatherapy
  61. Visit a comedy club
  62. Go to a festival/music gig
  63. Think about your next holiday, do some research and book something to look forward to
  64. Get organised, make action plans and lists and tick things off as you go
  65. Visit a coffee shop, buy your favourite drink and sit and watch the world go by
  66. Knit or crochet
  67. Learn to play a new instrument
  68. Do something mindless – some housework, clean the car, organise a drawer
  69. Smell the roses – notice the aroma from your favourite blooms
  70. Write something – a blog or some fiction
  71. Buy yourself a little treat
  72. Take a power nap
  73. Look at some inspiring photos
  74. Visit a spa
  75. Organise your emails and sort your inbox
  76. Write a letter to a loved one
  77. Visit a church or cathedral and wonder at the amazing architecture and history
  78. Visit a beautiful garden
  79. Get an early night
  80. Visit the library
  81. Take up a new hobby/learn a new skill
  82. Get up earlier and finish your ‘jobs/tasks’ earlier to create more free time
  83. Visit a food market and marvel at the delicious wares on sale
  84. Enjoy the sunshine on your face
  85. Change your bedding and notice the lovely smell of fresh sheets
  86. Skim stones across the water
  87. Visit a beautiful lake and marvel and the view
  88. Have a lie in or a duvet day
  89. Go and watch your team play a sport
  90. Plant a tree
  91. Talk to someone – a problem is better shared
  92. Ask for help, delegate something, you don’t have to own everything
  93. Remind yourself that perfection is overrated – good is good enough
  94. Put on a facemask, or an eye mask
  95. Watch a tearjerker film and have a good cry
  96. Ask for a hug
  97. Support someone in need
  98. Light some incense. Scents like Sandalwood and Sage can help calm anxieties and aid relaxation.
  99. Avoid negativity – don’t judge others but try and separate your identity and emotions from it.
  100. BE YOU! 
It’s all about you

It’s all about you

The airplane analogy is often used. We need to put on our oxygen mask first, ahead of our loved ones, to be able to help them.

Air hostess in a cabin wearing a mask

So how well do you look after you?

If you push on regardless it can become too much, you may find yourself unable to carry on in the same way.  

I thought it timely that we take a moment to focus on ourselves. Yes, this is all about YOU, because you matter and when was the last time you focused on what you need?

Where are you now?

If you are reading this quickly before dashing off to do something else which needs to be ticked off the list. Stop, really take a moment. Sit quietly, slow the breathing down, turn off distractions (if possible) and tune into yourself. This requires a little bit of your precious time, some concentration, and honesty.

How are you feeling? 

That’s a bit of a big question, so let’s break it down into three areas:

  • Stress/busyness/commitments
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Feeling low/depressed

Stress/busyness/commitments

I need a bit of busy in my life – I find I thrive on it (mostly) and it makes me feel alive. Some stress I find necessary to keep me focused and motivated. In those moments I’m saying yes to everything, I can take on the world. Suddenly something changes and a bit of stress tips into stressed out, over-committed, and overwhelmed.  

On the flip side, if I find myself with not enough to do, that’s demotivating. The less I do the less I want to do until it drives me a bit bonkers, and I take action.

Be honest and work out where you are taking on too much and where you might want to put more energy instead.  

Worry/Anxiety

This is a biggie. With recent and current life events, our world seems more worrying and anxiety-inducing than ever.

What’s normal for you?

Can you manage the level of worry and anxiety that you are experiencing, or it is stopping you from leading your ‘normal’ life?

As we get older, we can find ourselves concerned over details we would never have given a second thought to in the past. Perhaps there is an element of extra worrying we are willing to accept. If this tips into catastrophising about what might happen and affecting our mental health, then it may be time to seek help.

I suffered from anxiety in the past, which was becoming a problem and difficult to cope with. My GP offered some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which I found very helpful.  

Two strategies that I took from the process were:

Set aside worry time each day 

Acknowledge each worry or fear as it occurs. Park that thought but give it proper worry time at the allotted time each day. (Don’t do worry time just before bedtime.) This seems unlikely to work, but I found it helpful as instead of being overwhelmed with worrying thoughts and not dealing with them, I knew I would spend time each day thinking about those things that concerned me most.

Worry Tree

What are you really worried about? If you can identify each worry and write it down then think about all the things that could happen, drilling down into the worst thing you can imagine. It may be that there is nothing you can do to stop the worst thing from happening but acknowledging this can be helpful.

You may find that your worry, when drilled into, is not as bad as you originally thought it was.

Feeling Low/Depressed

We all feel low and a little depressed at times.

If it feels like it is ongoing and not improving, it’s important to talk to someone and/or seek help.

I’ve often found that those low moments are the true turning points of life.   

Happy Place

If I were to describe an amazing happy place it would be wild swimming in the most beautiful location, looking up at a vast blue sky, the mountainous landscape surrounding me, the gentle sound of the water as I floated along, opening my arms wide to the world and being so thankful to be present in that very moment.

What’s your happy place? Please pop over to my Facebook page and share.

Treat time

Now you have thought about good things, what small treats can you build into everyday life to fill up your tank?

  • Quiet time/reading
  • Breathing/meditation
  • Exercise/sporting activity
  • Spending quality time with friends/family
  • Diet/water consumption
  • Sleep
  • Laughing at comedy or the TV
  • Dancing/listening to music

Here’s a list of ideas – 100 Ways to Unwind if you need some inspiration.

It’s all about knowing ourselves, acknowledging where we are and putting on that oxygen mask to give us energy and ensure we are the best for those that are dear to us. We owe it to ourselves too.

Let’s give ourselves permission – make it all about you for a change!

The Easter Bunny recommends…

The Easter Bunny recommends…

Whether it’s the best eggs to buy, running the best egg hunt, enjoying a special lunch, or munching on a delicious hot cross bun with a cuppa, read on for some Easter inspiration.

Easter Bunny sitting on a tablecloth with spring flowers

The Easter Bunny recommends….

The Best Easter Eggs

Good Housekeeping has done all the Easter Egg research for you this year.

Chocolate Easter egg sitting on a bed of smarties

Chocolatiers and supermarkets submitted their recommendations to the Good Housekeeping Institute. They actually tested 135 eggs (are you now thinking you need a new job?). Hot Cross Bun Egg anyone?

These are the categories they cover:

  • Milk chocolate Easter eggs
  • White and blonde chocolate Easter eggs
  • Dark chocolate Easter eggs
  • Kids Easter eggs
  • Vegan Easter eggs

The Best Easter Egg Hunt

Colourful eggs and a basket on the grass

If you want to try some alternative ideas for your hunt this year, Country Living Magazine has come up with 27 creative hunt ideas for indoors and out and including online options.

The Best Hot Cross Buns

I love a hot cross bun. 

I’ve tried making them, they are a lot of work and mine were a bit of a disaster. Hot Cross Rocks would have been the better description! There are so many varieties to choose from these days.

Here’s a list of good supermarket buys from Olive magazine. Alternative options include dark chocolate and ginger and a white chocolate and lemon version mmm.

The Best Easter Lunch

The BBC Good Food team has come up with the ultimate Easter lunch menu. It does sound rather tasty:

  • Pea, mint & spring onion soup with parmesan biscuits to start
  • Roast lamb studded with rosemary & garlic (they also give plenty of veggie alternatives), served with dauphinoise potatoes, spring vegetables, and lemon & thyme baby carrots
  • Chocolate egg baked tart

I’m very pleased to see they ended the meal with chocolate. If you want more chocolate pud inspiration, try these.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, I do hope you are able to enjoy some downtime with family and friends and of course add lots of chocolate into the mix too.

Happy Easter

Love Affair with a Lentil

Love Affair with a Lentil

One of our clan became veggie a while ago and we played along. We cheated quite a bit, using veggie substitutes like bean burgers and veggie sausages a bit too much I feel.

Then lockdown happened. 

A family of five (all grown up and with huge appetites) needed feeding on a drastically reduced budget. Both hubby and I were unable to operate our blacksmithing and chocolate workshops for the foreseeable, and changes to the food shopping were required. 

We decided to eat mostly vegetarian from that moment on.

So started my love affair with a lentil.

Large lentil cottage pie in ceramic oval dish
Lentil Cottage Pie

Proper Veggie

It was time to embrace veggie eating properly. No more substitutes but good proper cooking from scratch.

I learned to think differently about cooking vegetarian food. With meat or fish, you have a star of the show with veggies as the side act. 

Cooking veggie meant that dishes needed to work together, there might be two or three dishes making up the ‘main’ element, working in harmony to create a feast.

Veggie food usually takes longer or a bit more effort to prepare. In my experience, there is more work in creating a tasty dish and making the veggies sing.

One of my veggie foodie heroes is Ottolenghi. Stock the spice cupboard with different ingredients and leave some time for cooking up a feast. You will never be disappointed but be prepared for smoky kitchens and prepping for a couple of days in advance!

Ottolenghi is very generous in sharing his recipes, check out social media, or find him writing for The Guardian.

Batch Cooking

Life is set to get considerably more expensive in the coming months. Eating well doesn’t have to be super expensive, but it will take up a bit of your time. Cooking is my therapy, so I really enjoy a bit of batch cooking and the sense of achievement when all the meals are prepped for a later date.

Lentil and spinach bake in large and small greeen ceramic oval dishes

That’s why I like to cook up a huge batch of green lentils. I boil them in vegetable stock to add a bit more flavour.

In a separate pan, I sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery then split this into two. With half the lentils I recently made a cottage pie mix, adding bay leaves, fennel, cumin, tinned toms, and a spoon of magical yeast extract. 

Marmite is so good for adding colour and great flavour to your veggie dishes.

The other half got the spice treatment. Adding chipotle chillies, lots of smoked paprika, passata, and a tin of red kidney beans.

The results: a family-sized cottage pie, two individual cottage pies to pass on to an elderly relative, and a vat of chilli. This was made from about half a pack of green lentils with just a bit of time and effort thrown in.

Once you have your base, you can make spag bol, lasagne, curries – all those family favourites for a fraction of the cost of meat or veggie substitutes. It tastes great and they are good for you.

Posh Lentils

You can go all Puy and go a bit posh with your lentils. I love these in a salad. I usually just have something crunchy like an iceberg, Puy lentils, and some goat’s cheese with a lovely lemony dressing. Great to go a bit posh if you have having people for dinner.

Texture

Split lentils are great for dhals or thickening soups or purees. They will go soft on cooking. If you want more texture, then stick to whole lentils. There is no need to soak lentils you can rinse and cook straight away. They will happily sit in your store cupboard for ages, with a long shelf life until you are ready to release them into something tasty.

Dhal is another family favourite – you can take your base and add lots of other lovely spicey veggies to make it a meal in its own right. Or add in some coconut milk for a lovely creamy twist.

Here’s a dhal recipe from a member of the BBC Good Food community.

Lentil Inspiration

Olive magazine shares their best lentil recipes here, including vegetable slice and an aubergine dhansak as well as some using Puy lentils too.

Jamie Oliver has some lovely lentil inspiration, whether as an accompaniment or a delicious meal in their own right. He shares some great salad ideas too.

How about this one from Delicious magazine, a halloumi-topped lentil stew – yes please!

And if you think I’ve forgotten about chocolate, then fear not. Add some cacao nibs or dark chocolate into your lentil chilli, delicious!

Are you going to start a love affair with a lentil?  

Why I started my business

Why I started my business

 I usually tell everyone about my love of chocolate and people, I just put the two together and created The Melting Pot.

Of course, my reasons for starting run far deeper than that.  

Dawn Fry

Here’s why I really started my business:

I took a job to fit around the needs of the family and it was driving me mad. It was something beneath my skill set for the part-time element and often left me unfulfilled and bored. Trying hard to turn it into something else wasn’t working, which just added to my frustration.

Life’s too short

My Dad became ill with serious cancer, followed by my husband in the same year. The next months were a blur of sitting by hospital beds and supporting them both. It was a tough time, with both seriously ill at the same time and three young children to support too. Driving around the M25 day after day, spending hours at a bedside, sitting watching loved ones suffer, and getting home and trying to be something for the kids. It took its toll.

Eventually, I went back to work but being in that environment was the final straw for me. How could I continue to work in something that didn’t serve me when life was so short and precarious?  

The only way is up

After a gruelling time and against the odds, we received good news, both my dad and hubby survived and are still well to this day, touch wood.

However, I now found myself teary and upset a lot of the time. The past had taken its toll. Not only did I not want to be in my job, but I was also not coping that well at all. It was hard to believe that everyone was going to be OK, even though the news was good, and I certainly didn’t feel OK myself.

One day there was a passing comment made in the office. It typified everything about what was not going to happen for me in my current role. 

I found myself in the toilet crying and knew something had to change.

The lightbulb moment

It was getting to that really low point, that kicked in some form of survival instinct and finally got me to tune into my need to reinvent myself. Time to start my own business, be my own boss, set my own agenda…..but what could I do?

I did literally have a lightbulb moment – I knew my business had to be with people and some sort of food and one day I just went, “chocolate, that’s it”. Running chocolate workshops felt right; I had created my new business idea, now to make it happen.

Redundancy Cheer

Redundancy is no joke; I’m not trying to make light of how awful it feels for some to know that they are going to lose their job and security. For me, it was a cheery and fearful moment. I was called into the office to be told that my job was being made redundant (it was the height of a recession in 2009). My response was ‘hurrah’ as it meant I could focus on my dream. I’d not been there long enough to qualify for redundancy pay, but it did give me the opportunity to start creating a chocolate workshop business as there was no job to full back on. This was the catalyst I really needed to make it a reality.

I left the job in June 2009 and launched The Melting Pot in September 2009.  

Why stop at workshops

After many years since I took the plunge, I still offer chocolate workshops and now so much more….

Hot Chocolate Team Day

So many courses and bespoke events have been created for clients – I say yes, then work out how I’m going to make it work.  

My hubby was inspired too, and for some years has been offering ‘be a blacksmith for a day’ experiences from his forge. We’ve even collaborated and created ‘hot chocolate’ team days.

I’ve documented everything I did to create a ‘business in a chocolate box’ and sell this to others wishing to run chocolate workshops where they live.  

New Dawn start-up business training came out of mentoring and supporting those starting a chocolate workshop business. Not everyone wants to work with chocolate – can you believe that?

Lack of confidence seemed to stop the people I met from starting something, they didn’t believe they could do it. If I could surely others could too? A free creating magic challenge and building confidence course were born.

Who knows what might be next…..

What I’d like to pass on

  1. Don’t stay working in something that makes you unhappy. You can and deserve to be happier at work. If you find yourself having a cry in the toilet, please make a change.
  2. Be brave – stretching your comfort zone will feel uncomfortable at first but the rewards are enormous.
  3. Choose love – firstly learn to love yourself properly, this is so important if you want to support all those that are so important to you too. There is nothing like working for yourself to really explore you and your capabilities.

There it is, why I started my own business. I love being my own boss, flexible, challenging, interesting and you will be so surprised at what you will learn about yourself.

7 reasons to just do it

7 reasons to just do it

What are you deliberating on right now?

It can feel so difficult to wrestle with a choice or change of direction. We might make a list of pros and cons, talk to all the people we know and trust, seeking answers elsewhere. At the end of the day, the decision is yours.

Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and say yes to a situation or opportunity.

Here are 7 reasons to just do it:

Enthusiasm

You are obviously excited about this opportunity, or it would not be causing you the anxiety of deliberation. Listen to that emotion. What is it really telling you?

If you seek a new adventure of some sort, the reality is likely that you feel a bit stuck or stale with what is going on in your life at the moment. It’s time for a change or you would not have been attracted to the idea in the first place! Enthusiasm motivates you to take further action.

Momentum

While your energy is high, and you are in the mood to explore – act on it. Go and find out lots of information, speak to relevant people with a BIG caveat! Who you speak to matters! Some people, especially those close to you can be very cautious and negative about shiny new ideas.  

Seek out those that have relevant experience of what you want to explore. Use that momentum to really flesh out your idea in more detail. 

Energy and drive are required to make big changes.

Back yourself

You’ve got this.

Almost anything is actually possible if we put our minds to it. We tell ourselves we can’t do something as we have put ourselves in a pigeonhole. When we actually challenge ourselves to achieve something, it’s amazing the resources we find within ourselves.

There is also a whole world of experts, mentors, teachers, and coaches out there. If you don’t know how to do something go and find out about it from someone who does. If that’s starting a business, my hand is waving in the air!

Stretching your comfort zone

In a toilet in Shoreditch, there is some wallpaper that says, “your comfort zone will kill you”. 

Rather dramatic, but how true. We slowly shrivel up and fade away when we don’t challenge ourselves now and again. It can be just a small action, something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable now and again will work wonders for your self-esteem. Running a business stretches my comfort zone on a regular basis, there are some surprising things you will learn about yourself!

What’s the downside?

Is it losing face, fear of failure, scared someone will say no, someone will judge you? Honestly, how bad could the downside be? I think we can often overestimate the downside of something so be as objective as possible. If we fail, we have learned some valuable lessons. 

Can you afford to lose?

Putting my whole life, house, family, and the dog at risk from making a decision is not one I could live with. As much as I may dive in with a big decision and give it a go, I need to know the cost should it go wrong.

A default setting is often – I can’t afford that. That may well be because it’s a stretch financially. It is also about backing yourself to achieve something and that feels very uncomfortable. 

There are many ways to finance plans; business and personal loans, credit, etc – not just about what is currently in your piggy bank. Speak to a finance professional and take advice. Learn what the risk is to you and then make an educated choice on whether you can afford to lose or not.

 What will success look like?

Cork popping off a bottle of champagne with sparklers fizzing out of the top

You did it, took the plunge, and there you are sipping a glass of fizz reflecting on the journey you’ve been on.

What does success look like to you, what measures will mean that you have made it? Don’t just look at the numbers because it’s never just about the money. There will be financial goals, but what personal goals are there too? More free time, quality time with family and friends, holidays when it suits you and not the office rota?

Define your success criteria and if the decision means you are more likely to gain the success you seek, this life is far too short so………JUST DO IT!

Come and tell us your big news.

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Most people will think that a fear of failure would stop them from starting something out of their comfort zone. If you don’t start something you can’t fail, so surely it’s far easier not to start.

failure written on a piece of paper on the table, success on another piece of paper being picked up

I beg to differ.

While fear of failure can prevent you from starting, far more powerful is your fear of success.

Let’s explore this a little more:

It’s personal

Do you believe that you deserve to succeed in whatever you set your mind to?

When you consider something that you really would like to do, can you imagine doing well at it? If you do imagine doing well, what emotions does that stir up for you?

Were you always told to be modest and humble, not to brag? Do you need to hide your potential success, so don’t try and achieve as much as you might be capable of?

Does success mean being busy, working all the time, and having no time to play? If you keep it safe and smaller, although you are bored or unfulfilled some of the time, is it better than being too busy?

Your relationships

Might you upset someone with a level of success? Will your success make you different in the eyes of friends, family, or partners? Do you believe some of your network would not like you if you gained a level of success?

Are you always the supporter in your relationships? What if that changed with you as the achiever, the most successful, the breadwinner? 

If you were super-successful, what support would you need?

Where might success lead for you? Does it mean you might leave some behind, or be faced with life-changing decisions?

Money Blocks

Pink piggy bank

Success may or may not have anything to do with money.

What is your relationship like with money?  

Is there a level of money that would make you uncomfortable?

Do you believe you deserve to have money?

You need Denise Duffield Thomas – she is an Entrepreneur that focuses on our relationships with money. 

I always recommend her book ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch’ to everyone on my business start-up course. She advocates that we all have money blocks. Emotions buried deep in our belief system stop us from reaching our next level of success. We need to identify and clear the blocks to move on.

Dare to Dream

What does success look like for you?

Dare to dream as big as you can. Forget all those labels, responsibilities, and worries, and take some time to identify what would be a wonderful achievement for you.

You might want to become super fit and healthy, eat differently

Write a book

Start a new business

Take on a role or job that you never dreamed possible

Learn a new hobby, instrument, sport, skill

Plant trees, take up volunteering, save the planet (we need you)

Make a plan!

If you fail you’ve learned. 

You may never reach your potential if you are too scared of being super-successful. It doesn’t have to be some huge grand scheme, it’s whatever success looks like for you. 

Why not come and tell us all about it – let’s make it real!

How to beat the January Blues

How to beat the January Blues

It’s cold, damp, and still quite dark. The twinkly lights are down, and if you are anything like us, Christmas was a bit of a write-off thanks to Covid.

Who could blame anyone suffering a bit of January blues right now?

Camping Du Lac, Entreveux, France.  Lake with mountains in the distance and kayaks on the shore

My top tip for making this month bearable – start planning your holiday(s).

How to beat the January blues – get excited about the trips you might be taking in 2022!

Who will be going?

Is it a family trip? Are you tied to the school holidays? Are you going with friends?  

What sort of holiday will suit all the people as much as possible?

Swimming pool

It’s easy to get rather rose-tinted spectacles when imagining your lovely family holiday. What’s the reality? 

Some of us don’t get on well with the heat, while others in the family don’t consider it a proper holiday without some serious sunshine. If f we are on a hot holiday I ensure there are easy swimming options. Ideal for those that overheat.

Action-packed adventures or roasting on a spit reading the latest rom-com? There’s bound to be a bit of everything required.  

It can be quite a responsibility to choose a holiday to suit all that are going.  

What’s the budget?

Many of us may sit down at the beginning of the year and wonder if a holiday will be possible financially. They can be a huge investment.

Our philosophy has always been to make a holiday possible, even if we have to compromise on other things. 

Shepherds hut at Pateley Bridge

We love our holidays so much we decided that fewer meals out or cooking on a budget are well worth doing to achieve a trip away.

We love a bit of camping or glamping – here’s why.

For some, without a bit of luxury, you may prefer to stay at home. Staying at home doesn’t do it for me, especially when I’m trying to beat the January blues. If a full-blown holiday is not possible, maybe that a mini-break will be more suitable instead.

Where would you like to go?

OK, right now it may be a little difficult to pick any place and know with confidence that you can get there.

Let’s hope we can travel more freely soon.

Make a list of the destination(s) you would most like to go to for your holiday and get planning. Look up hotels, villas, or campsites. What are the local tourist attractions, what do the restaurants, cafes, and bars look like? This all helps in the getting excited stakes.

Do you need a backup plan?

The past two years have taught us that the best-laid plans don’t always come to fruition. Can you create a backup plan?

Highland Cow on the Isle of Mull
Isle of Mull

Would a holiday in the UK work for you?  

Make a list of all the places that you haven’t yet visited in the UK that you would like to explore some more. Isle of Mull anyone?  

If like us you have a dog, a UK cottage, or a camping break could be just the thing to get excited about and you know you are more likely to be able to go!

campsite in the mountains with sun setting
Austria

European Adventures

For years I planned our extensive camping trips all over Europe during the month of January. There will be more to come I’m sure, even if it sadly won’t be as easy as it used to be.

This involved choosing the campsites we wanted to visit in various destinations. I then worked out a route, with hotel stops, or mini-camps en-route.  

It’s taken years of making mistakes to know what works best for us. Like not doing big transfers on a Friday or Saturday. Knowing how long we can spend in the car on a big trip, and how many stopovers will be required.  

For hotels, I usually use booking.com as I want the flexibility of being able to cancel if necessary. 

For camping, it’s Cool Camping all the way.

Eventually, everything would go onto an extensive itinerary which I would present to our friends (that we usually go camping with) and we all start to get excited.

The point of this is that there are not only different countries to get excited about visiting. There are the campsites, our epic journeys and quirky hotel stops along the way too!

Adding in some extras

It might be a weekend away with the girls or boys.

Bathtub on balcony.  Treehouse in the woods

A treehouse stay in the woods with the dog.

An overnight stop in a City.

Any trip away can count in the beating the January blues campaign – come and tell us where you are planning to visit in 2022. Safe and happy travels to you.

What’s the plan, Stan?

What’s the plan, Stan?

I’m not a great fan of New Year resolutions. They tend to be a bit flash in the pan. However, now is a great time of year to reflect and work out something more meaningful and relevant for the following months and beyond.

Let’s hope there are not too many more weeks of restrictions and compromise to come. At the time of writing this, it seems that we have a bit to go yet. 

This is the moment between Christmas and New Year. Usually the calm between two busy periods. For us, Christmas had to be cancelled, so it’s been exceptionally quiet for a time. The perfect opportunity to work on what’s the plan, Stan!

Dawn Fry

Why make a plan?

You may feel the need to make some changes in your life, these are more achievable if you think about what needs to be different and attempt to tackle them at some agreed point.

Perhaps, pandemic permitting, you would simply like to travel or see friends and family further afield. While these last two years have taught us that plans can’t be set in stone, it’s great to think about how & when you might do such things and plot them in the diary.

What do you want?

We are so often on the treadmill of doing stuff, getting through each day, and not thinking much beyond the daily grind. There’s nothing wrong with that but now and again it’s good to check in and make sure we are doing some of the good stuff too.

So rarely do most of us sit down with a pen and paper and work out what matters to us most. 

Let’s break it down

Take a moment to think about each of the following areas of your life.

Work

Home
Family
Friends
Health
Fitness
Leisure/fun

Describe the absolute best-case scenario for each of those categories.

What does work look like if you are doing the dream job for example? Perhaps you have always dreamed of being your own boss? Is it time to explore making this a reality, you might consider turning a hobby into something more serious?

Here are some of the reasons I chose to work with chocolate!

Now go over each area again and describe where you are now. Be honest with yourself, it’s your life, and time is ticking on.

Mind the gap

What/where are the gaps from the dream scenario to what you are actually doing now.

Do you need to focus more on your health and fitness to achieve some of your dreams?

Is it time to factor in more fun as you have not had time/energy to focus on this area of your life and you feel a little stale/bored?

Maybe you feel lacking in confidence and need to work on this first?

Identifying what’s holding you back, or feeling a little fearful is important. You are giving it air time and yourself the opportunity to work through issues.

Once you have identified the gaps – this will form the basis of your plan.

Write up the headlines and put some dates against when you wish to achieve them. It does not have to be done overnight. Some things will be longer-term.

What is most exciting on that list to you?

Do something towards that first.

Come back to your list throughout the year, or at agreed intervals (every quarter, six months, annually) and rinse and repeat.

You can change a plan – nothing is set in stone.

Come and tell us your plan Stan and inspire us all over on Facebook.