Tag: 2017

What is gratitude and why is it important?



According to the Oxford Dictionary, gratitude is the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

But what is it really?

“Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in an essay, Why Gratitude is Good.”

You can read all about his ideas, here http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition

The reason I wanted to write something about Gratitude today is because I feel 2016 was such a strange year. Well, for me, anyway.

Of course, good things have happened to many people, including to me. I published my children’s novel, George And The Gargoyle Who Lived In The Garden in 2016 and I was supported by so many lovely readers who bought it. The novel was even bought by the central library in Enfield, which means that it is available for loan throughout London. I was able to buy my gorgeous new car, my Abarth, that I’d been wanting for ages. My wonderful students have achieved great things which made me very proud. I have been blessed to have amazing friends in my life and I feel that my relationships have deepened with those people who are very important in my life.

I’m truly grateful for things like the fact that I am healthy for the most part, I can move around freely, I can breathe fresh air, I can see, hear, speak, I have a lovely warm home, I have enough food to eat every day, etc. I’m still here and I get another go at another day, and hopefully, another year

For all of those things, and more, I am extremely grateful.


I feel the world has entered a rather darker phase now than I have ever seen before. Strange political events, terrorist activities, the refugee crisis and war has contributed to make me feel this way. It is difficult to remain grateful in the face of such events. As someone who leans towards the metaphysical truths in life, I know that even these disturbing events have their place, but the human, three-dimensional part of me, can’t quite get my head around the state of the world at the moment.

The fact that so many of our great icons, like Alan Rickman, Rick Parfitt, David Bowie, Prince, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Pete Burns, Terry Wogan, Gene Wilder, Caroline Aherne, Muhammad Ali, Victoria Wood, David Guest, Carrie Fisher and George Michael died last year, among so many other great people, makes me wonder if they all left because they know something we don’t.

The craziness of life can be overwhelming and then, feeling gratitude may be the last thing on our minds, but I feel that gratitude is very important because it allows us to turn bad things and obstacles into opportunities. Gratitude also turns what we have into enough.

Even though some scary things have to carry on from 2016, I trust that 2017 will bring clarity, joy and good fortune to us all. And lots of things to feel grateful for.

Happy 2017! New year’s resolutions!



If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably made a few new year’s resolutions. We all make them, don’t we? Each year we decide that the new year is the best time to start anew – we want to lose weight and get fit, make or save more money, get more organized, be more social, read more, fall in love, etc. But how long do these actually last?

For the best results, we know that we should not take on too much all at once, that our goals should be doable and realistic, and that we should involve at least one other person to hold us accountable. It’s also a good idea not to give up just because we have a few set-backs.

In reality, however, very few people actually achieve their goals. And I feel I know why. We live in a “doing” society. We get uncomfortable with just “being.” It feels weird to do nothing and expect something to happen. Most of us feel much more productive the busier we are. But in our busyness, our eagerness to get everything done, we burn out, lose momentum, get overwhelmed. It is in our stillness alone that we are able to hear the voice of our intuition, our guidance to our next action for the best results.

As many of you know, I have always written stories, but I have decided to start writing seriously only over the last two years, and to have my novels published. It has been a steep learning curve and continues to be so. But one of the most helpful things writing has taught me, is to take time out, to deliberately do nothing. It’s amazing what happens when you do that. I usually take myself off for long walks somewhere in nature. By the time I get home, my head is pregnant with story ideas and characters that just can’t wait to be born. It’s very liberating and inspiring. But it wasn’t easy to do in the beginning. I was convinced that I had to sit in front of a keyboard in order to get the best writing. And yes, you do have to put the time in. Without knowing where you’re going first, sitting  and staring at a screen can be an awful waste of time, however.

I will be engaging in more awesome “deliberately doing nothing” this year. I hope you take the courage to try it for yourself.

How does a supermoon affect us?



We experienced our last supermoon of the year on 14 December 2016.

The word ‘supermoon’ was coined by an astrologer, and has now become widespread, even among astronomers. We know a supermoon is super because it coincides with a full moon or a new moon and the fact that the moon’s orbit is closest to the earth. Astronomers, oceanographers and fishermen tell us that the supermoon also causes higher-than-usual ocean tides on the side of the earth closest to the supermoon. But how else does a supermoon affect us?

We’ve all heard of full moon or supermoon madness. I undertook quite a bit of research to ascertain if this was true or not, and found only articles written by scholars disproving the idea. But one thing is for certain. Many of us can feel slightly out of sorts during the time of a full moon or a supermoon. And it’s not just people. My cat has been behaving in a particular eccentric way this entire week!

Astrologers, however, take a full moon seriously, and a supermoon, very seriously. As this was the last supermoon of the year, their advice is that it’s all about “out with the old, in with the new” – letting go of old patterns and things that no longer serve us, will make way for new things and new beginnings to come to us.

Maybe they have a point? Maybe now is the time to contemplate what you’ve achieved and accomplished in 2016, and what you would like your 2017 to be like? Why wait till January to decide what your 2017 goals will be? But most of us make the same goals each year and never achieve them, like losing weight, going to sleep earlier, eating healthier, going to the gym more, making more money. These goals might be too general, but whatever your goals are, the best way to achieving those starts here:

  1. Tell people. Make yourself accountable to your friends and family. If you share your goals on your social media networks, you might even find people joining you on your journey, and you’ll be more likely to achieve them.
  1. Break it down into bite-sized sections. If you set yourself a goal to lose weight, for example, maybe work out what you need to lose each week in order to accomplish your goal. Or if you’ve been thinking about writing that novel, start with 500 words a day. A few months later, you’ll have your finished novel. Most of us give up on our goals if they appear too big to accomplish, but by taking baby steps we can achieve anything.
  1. Write them down and set a date. If you have written them in pen in your calendar, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

Don’t worry if you’ve missed your chance to do so on the 14th. Astrologers believe that the effects of this supermoon will last over the next two weeks. Apparently, the reason this supermoon is so powerful, is because it’s so close to the beginning of a new year. As it was in the sign of Gemini, and carries the Gemini energy, it is meant to be optimistic, energetic, easier to communicate, and to focus on discovering new ways to do things. Let’s hope that’s true for 2017.

Personally, I usually contemplate my life around the time of the Solstice anyway. So, on Wednesday, 21 December 2016, please feel free to join me in celebrating our achievements in 2016, and setting new goals for 2017.

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