It was going to be perfect. A two week family holiday to switch off and reconnect. Everything was planned down to the last meal, board game and walk.
Until the one thing I hadn't planned happened.
International travel is still tricky so August 2021 saw us taking another local holiday. But I can't really complain as we live on the tropical island of Mauritius and, even though this was the peak of winter, the weather was still preferable to a UK summer!
We booked the first week as a winter / mountain break in the hills of Chamarel. Our cottage was in the middle of nowhere, with a 360º view of nature and greenery all around.
The second week was a "summer" / beach break on the coast in Pointe aux Biches. Our apartment was right on the seafront and had the most stunning ocean views.
I had figured out meals, indoor games and outdoor games, places to visit, things to do.
I decided to go on a complete digital detox for the full two weeks and warned friends, family and...
A couple of days ago Ben and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. That's right, our marriage is now old enough to buy its own bottle of champagne to celebrate ;-)
And it got me to thinking. If our marriage is now 18 years old and an adult, what has it - and what have I learnt - about being married?
Not only have I been married for 18 years, but I've also been helping women all over the world with their relationships for over 3 years (via my Life Reboot Camp online programme).
Living together. Sleeping together. Potentially raising babies or fur babies together. Sharing finances. Sharing household chores. Eating together. Spending spare time together. Dealing with each other's friends, family, job / business / career.
Marriage is a whole ton of pressure to put on two people without any training or manual.
So I decided to share with you the 5 things no one told you about marriage, in the hope it will help you have a happier and better marriage.
I’m guessing that when you were a teenager, at school maybe, you received careers guidance. Maybe you had to fill in a questionnaire. Or had an interview with a careers counsellor.
All this when you were what? 15 years old? 16? And then I’m guessing that you were probably left to figure it out after that.
Maybe you said you wanted to go into medicine so you were advised to study maths and the sciences. Or you said you liked the idea of journalism so you went off to study English at university.
But since then you’ve had little to no advice on what to do in your career.
No one to help you when your dream job turned out to be the stuff of nightmares.
No help when you realised you wanted to do a complete U-Turn.
Which means most of us don’t end up changing. We end up staying with whatever job our school careers counsellor told us to do when we were a spotty teenager.
The recent pandemic and changes to the way we work have really shone a light on what we...
There I’ve said it. And not just in my head.
I mentioned this recently to a close friend of mine and she was shocked that I should feel this way.
But you see pretty much all of us are feeling not good enough at one point or another.
I’m in a couple of online business groups and it never ceases to amaze me that these incredible women could also be crippled with self-doubt too.
I’m talking women who run their own successful 7 figure businesses. Women who others look up to for guidance and inspiration.
Which made me realise - we all go through the whole “I’m not good enough” negative self-talk at one point or another.
Maybe yours is “I’m not good enough at my job” or “I’m not a good enough mum” or “I’m not a good enough wife / daughter / friend / sister”.
For me it varies from day to day, but my most common ones are:
I physically shuddered as my 13 year old daughter's teacher accused me of bad parenting.
Because I told her I would rather my daughter failed academically than destroy her mental health by spending all her waking hours on school work.
Apparently I was not doing a good job at parenting because I refused to let my 13 year old (who is only in Year 9) spend 2-3 hours on homework every day.
Bearing in mind her school day starts at 6.50am when she leaves for the bus, and ends at 4pm when she gets home.
I set a top limit of 1.5 hours a day to maintain balance and avoid burnout.
Yet this makes me a bad parent.
(We have since changed our schooling set-up for our daughter as this was a recipe for breakdown.)
It still astounds me that we are in this situation with everything we know and have experienced over the last few years.
Suicides, burnouts, breakdowns, cutting, increase in alcohol and substance dependency, eating disorders and other mental health issues.
Why are we...
In 2015 our family moved from a 4 bedroom house in London to a 4 bedroom house in Mauritius.
Our new house was 5 times the size of our London home and cost 1/3 of our London rent. Included in our Mauritian rent were a pest control team, a pool guy and a gardening team.
The cost of our new house was very low and initially it was glorious to live in the kind of luxury we'd only ever dreamed of previously.
As we settled into our new life on the island we became aware of the extreme poverty that others were living in.
Just over a mile away families lived in tin shacks, "built" on mud, despite the extreme weather conditions.
When it rained - which it does a lot on a tropical island - these homes get soaked and the surrounding areas turned into mud baths.
But that is nothing in comparison to the suffocating heat in these tin cans when it's 35+ºC and 80% humidity in the shade.
My husband, Ben, and I vowed that our kids wouldn't turn into rich brats who think the world owes them some...
Thunder thighs. Chunky. Dumpy. Fat knees. Full of cellulite.
These are just some of the nasty things I or other people have said about my legs in the past.
Which led to me not wearing shorts for 10 years, despite living on the French Riviera for 4 of those years.
I was so wrapped up with feeling "less than" with regard to my legs that I chose to be uncomfortable and hot in alternative clothes rather than wear shorts.
That ended 3 months before my 40th birthday when we left London and moved to Mauritius, a tropical island where it is more or less summer all year round, and shorts are pretty much an obligatory wardrobe staple.
So after 10 years of no shorts, and at my legs' most wobbliest yet I started wearing shorts again.
Fast forward 5 years and I wear shorts most days without thinking about it now.
My legs have never looked "worse" in that middle age has drastically increased the cellulite to non-cellulite ratio, and serious wobble has set in, despite doing more sport now than...
I'm going to preface this blog post by acknowledging just how lucky I am.
Lucky to still have both my parents.
Lucky to have had the most incredible relationship with them for the past 45 years.
Lucky that they are still the ones to look after me rather than the other way round.
Now that's been said, here's the thing.
I miss my mum and dad.
The last time I saw them was in late October 2019.
It's the longest I've ever gone without seeing them, and bloody hell it's been / it is hard.
I lived in Nice, France for 12 years and thanks to easyjet we were able to see each other every 2-3 months in general.
Then when I moved to London I was just an hour down the road from them.
We saw each other for about a day every month, more or less.
My mum and dad were our support team when I had our youngest daughter, Clémence, in London in 2012.
My dad drove me, whilst in full-on labour, to hospital, through the rush hour streets of London.
My mum stayed with me and Ben right through...
In early 2014 I was completely addicted to social media and my phone. To the detriment of my health and my relationships.
A reading challenge that year changed all that and saved me from my social media addiction, and my life is so very different now.
Yesterday I finished reading my 30th book this year.
Last year I read 70 books in the year. A record for me (it's usually 50 something).
I'm not sharing this to brag, to compete or to make you feel bad.
Instead I want to share my reading story with you...
I grew up in a house of bookworms.
I learnt to read early and Saturday mornings were spent at the local library.
The biggest treat before going on our yearly holiday was a visit to the bookshop to buy a brand new book for the journey.
In primary school one Christmas I totally missed my call to go on stage in the nativity play as I was engrossed in a book backstage. My poor parents sat through an hour of kids reenacting the nativity story without my starring role - being in the...
Exactly 19 years ago today I spent my Saturday in a fairly typical way for a recently-dumped, overdrawn 25 year old woman. I went for some retail therapy and bought myself a new outfit, which was cheap, but which I couldn't afford all the same.
I felt a bit shitty about it when I got home, as the high quickly wore off, and I decided to save money and stay in that night.
Then my friend rang me and begged me to go out with her - she was after the bartender who worked in a bar in Nice (France) where I lived at the time.
I told her I couldn't. I was saving money. It was cold. (Even on the French Riviera it feels cold on a December evening!).
But she found the perfect argument to win me round "you can wear your new outfit, otherwise what was the point of buying it?!".
Torn between a night in by myself, watching crappy French TV and cooking for one, or a night out in a bar, with my friend, in my new clothes, I think you can guess which won!
We got to the bar relatively early and were...