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Sunday 30 December 2012

Dinosaurs and ice

As I say goodbye to the Diplodocus, I move smoothly through the revolving glass door and come out into the cold December evening. Walking down the steps, I turn my head to gaze down the length of this cathedral-like building and am immediately thrown back to when I first came to the museum as a child. It was like a dream, magical. Decades later, I am still awestruck by its sheer magnificence. Sparkling trees line the path, encompassing me in a festive cocoon and fills me with a sense of warmth and cosiness.
As I reach the ice rink bathed in blue light, something makes me want to stop. I stand there leaning against the thick Perspex wall and rest my head on folded arms. I watch as people wrapped up in woolly hats and scarves weave in and out of each other, circling, gliding. A smile creeps across my face as a couple struggles to stay upright on the ice. Like new-born lambs with limbs moving in all directions, they eventually land entwined onto the cold ice and I can't help but join in with their infectious loud laughter. And then, as the wind begins to pick up, I find myself drift off into thought. Our journey through life is rarely smooth. There are days when we glide effortlessly along the ice, picking up speed and dancing as we go. Then there are moments where we just can't find our balance. Despite all our best efforts, we still land flat on our face...but that's ok. Nothing is for nothing and sometimes it takes a fall to get us back on track. The best we can do is put both hands on the ground, push ourselves up and straighten our hair once again...For we are much stronger than we know.

A belated Merry Christmas to you all and I wish you all the joy in the world.
My heart also goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones this year. Say strong and remember that love is energy and energy never dies.

Saturday 1 December 2012

The gap

As I pull my favourite blue Japanese cotton scarf up around my ears, I make my way down the steps and onto the empty platform. For some reason there doesn't seem to be a soul around this evening. I walk up to the pillar that holds up the roof, and lean against it. For a brief moment, I am lost in the music flowing through my earphones and straight into my heart. There has been a chill in the air of late and for the first time this season, I watch as warm breath leaves my body and disappears into the cool wintry night.
And so I lean with hands in pockets, looking down along the silvery tracks that snake off miles into the distance.
Then something pulls my focus.
I glance down and notice three words printed boldly onto the cold concrete. How had I missed them until now?
These ten little letters suddenly get my mind spiralling off as I begin to think about the gaps in our lives. The space we have to cross to get to where we want to be and the things we tell ourselves along the way: I will be happy once I've lost the weight, and got that job, fallen in love and made that money...And when we eventually do get these things, we barely notice their presence in our lives because we are too busy thinking about how we won't be happy until we get that car and go on that holiday, have the baby and get that promotion.
I can't help but wonder if we are always in the gap. That space in between where we have just come from and where we are going. And maybe that's all there is anyway.
And could it be that within this gap lies our true potential? The potential to be courageous, loving, forgiving, inspiring, creative, generous, sparkling and fabulous?

Sunday 11 November 2012


The city is changing again. Just when I think I have a grip on it, something shifts. Last night's fitful sleep leaves behind a shadow of drowsiness. I should be closing my eyes but something pulls me out of bed. Shuffling into the lounge, I make my way towards the balcony door and pull aside the blinds. I have seen this hazy sun before. Everything around me glimmers; Canary Wharf, the crane which popped up from nowhere, and the green watering can filled with rain water; all bathed in the bright Sunday morning light. Reaching out, I touch the glass and immediately realise it’s cold outside. Warmth washes over me as I reach to take a sip of fresh coffee...something else catches my eye. A bundle of paper held together with a bulldog clip. Basking in the sun, it sits there on the side. Waiting, watching; my unfinished book.
The Christmas channel has started back again; 24 hours of non-stop made-for-TV movies. My mind leaps back to last year and the week I watched nothing but festive films back to back, wrapped up in a feather duvet. I smile as I look up at the pale blue cloudless sky. For some strange reason I jump to the cemetery in which my mum's body lies. There is no headstone. I try to picture the morning sun splashing through the trees and onto the damp grass below. She's out there somewhere, the woman who lives in my dreams. And as I take another sip of coffee, I can't help but wonder if I will ever stop looking for her.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Something extra

It happened in the early hours of this morning. I was fast asleep. Eyes closed, breathing deeply, I dreamt about people and places long gone by. The streets outside were quiet and deserted as city foxes came out to play in the light of the tall yellow lamps dotted all around. The almost full moon shone brightly, bathing everything in a silvery glow. I wasn't even aware of when the moment arrived. It crept in unannounced, without fanfare and waited patiently for the dawn. My eyes slowly opened to the new day, earplugs pulled out as I came to. And then I noticed its presence. The gift had arrived...
And so I began to think about how I could spend this extra hour. Sixty minutes in our time doesn't seem that much but the possibilities held within it are incredible. We can do something wonderful to set in motion a chain of events that will change the course of our life, forever. We can tell someone that we love them, do something great for someone else or just lie back and enjoy the peace of living in the moment. It is ours to do with whatever we choose. Life is so precious, every moment counts and this bonus of an extra hour comes just at the right time. A time, in which life seems so cramped with stuff, we wish we had more hours in the day...and now, for a short while, we do.

So how will you spend your extra hour?

Sunday 30 September 2012

The maze

Stepping inside, the sun vanishes from sight and the air around instantly cools my warm skin. And so I begin my journey to find the centre of the maze. Following the hedged wall around, I find myself facing the first choice of the afternoon; Left or right? I ponder this dilemma briefly before turning off to the left and continuing on through. There is something oddly comforting about being lost in here and I have no choice but to let go and listen to the birds singing knowingly all around.
Before long, once again, I am faced with another decision. Straight ahead or veer off to the right? Both pathways look tempting in an absolutely identical way. I turn off and continue on. I have been walking now for about twenty minutes, still none the wiser as to the location of my destination. 
And as I journey onwards through the leafy maze, I begin to think about all the times I have felt lost. In life, there is no map to guide us. When we hit a wall, we have no choice but to stop, turn around and continue on a different path. Sometimes, we can put so much effort into something only to find ourselves right back where we started, we don't think we will ever have the energy to try again. 
But regardless of whether we turn left or right, go straight ahead or turn back the way we came, there will always be another corner to take, another dead end to hit and another choice to make...and that's ok; we always find our way in the end. 
And that afternoon I did, just when I least expected it.

Sunday 23 September 2012


Autumnal evening rain begins to fall. The sky was blue when I left the house this morning and now cool drops are finding their way onto my face as strangers around me begin to rush home.
I make my way up the steps towards the platform and look up at the illuminated board.
Next train: 4 minutes.
At least I'm undercover. And so I stand there at the top, sheltered from the rain, looking around.
I watch as a couple on the other platform walk slowly from one end to the other, pulling heavy cases behind them. I wonder where they have travelled from and where they are going. The only other person on my platform is a man sitting at the end, engrossed in the evening edition of a newspaper. I wonder what story he is reading and what he makes of this crazy, beautiful world we live in. My attention is pulled upwards as a plane begins to climb noisily away from City Airport. Soon it will be high above the clouds just in time to catch the last glimpse of a burning sunset, invisible to the rest of us down here.
Next train: 2 minutes.
My mind starts to wander and I think about how everything seems to be in a constant state of change. Conversations and moments flood my mind as rain continues to fall onto glistening concrete.
And then I realise something.
I will never again be standing on this platform, watching these particular people on this wet, late September evening. As soon as I leave here, this moment will be gone, forever.
As the train pulls gently in, I'm reminded that wherever we go in life and whatever we do, we only ever have this moment...And everything's perfect.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Seasonal sounds

The chandeliers dim and a hush falls over the audience. A scent of dark, solid wood hangs heavy in the air and I watch as candles flicker and dance all around. The orchestra begins to tune their instruments, creating a jumble of chaotic sound. Bows stroke strings and air blows through reed. After a few seconds, silence once again falls through the church.
And so it begins.
A melody written over 400 years ago comes back to life in an instant and as I close my eyes, I wonder how many people have heard this piece over the centuries.
Violins, cellos and oboes come to life to create the most beautiful sound which wafts up towards me and straight into my heart.
A cold police siren whizzes past, breaking my peace and I am temporarily reminded that I am surrounded by 7 billion people. And as I fall back into the music I notice that the deep blue sky which earlier spilt in through tall windows has now been replaced by a duskiness that serves only to make me feel cosier.
I suddenly realise that autumn is back. The cool nights will be drawing in and leaves will fall. A pang of sadness washes over me as I realise that I never got a chance to say goodbye to our lovely last season. Something magical happened this summer with London 2012 and I can't shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, I have been changed forever.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Desert lights

As the lift doors slide open, a wave of bright light and electronic noise smashes into me. I step out into the hotel casino and my senses are suddenly electrified. Snaking my way through the endless rows of hypnotic slot machines, I slow for a moment to watch the woman with her back to me. Mesmerised by flashing lights and spinning wheels, she reaches into her large plastic cup without looking and pulls out a handful of quarters. One by one she delicately places them into the slot and continues to push random buttons. She must be doing something right as no sooner as she does this, a handful more are spewed out the bottom. She barely cracks a smile and I can't help but wonder how long she has been sitting there; it is still only 8.30am. 
I smile for her. 
As I continue onwards past green poker tables and spinning roulette wheels, I notice that there is something very warm and cozy about being in this surreal bubble; the lack of any natural light just adds to my sense of disorientation.
Walking through the lobby and out of a revolving door, the burning sun instantly warms my face and it takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the new light.
I am suddenly struck by the peculiarity of standing in the middle of a desert, surrounded by all of this. I love the randomness of it all...and right on cue as I turn the corner, two lycra-clad superheroes walk casually past sipping their Starbucks as they make their way to work. 
In a few short days I will be back home again. But right now, I'm where I'm meant to be. 
And it's glorious.

Monday 20 August 2012

Disappearing dusk

It's already begun. No longer evening, not quite night. I'm in the space in between where the sun gives one last push of brilliance before disappearing completely; a final flourish as the curtain comes down.
Colours grow sharper and the shadows on the grass below lie elegant, long. They seem to stretch out to forever.
I glance up just as a plane full of people powers higher and higher into the sky and sweeps away from City Airport, climbing further from the ground with every second. Soon we will all just look like ants.
The light is changing. The window is closing and everything that was bathed in a hyper-real glow is starting to fade.
This is the end. And also the beginning.
I wonder about tomorrow. I wonder about the many things it holds gently in its hands for me and how with every sunset, we imperceptibly change.
The air is getting cooler now and I briefly consider going inside to grab my blue jumper when something stops me. The edge of Canary Wharf is suddenly illuminated with my personal sunset. It happens most evenings and only ever lasts for a few minutes, but every single time, I'm awe-struck. Feeling my lungs fill with air, a wave of hope washes over me as I realise how much potential there is within each and every one of us.
The shadows on the grass below have now disappeared into the dusk and in a moment I will pick up my cup and head inside. The door will close and the blind will be pulled across. The lamp will go on and tea will be poured. But right now I am blinded by the reflection of the sun.
And it is beautiful.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Three and a half pike

Switching on the TV, I crash onto the sofa just as the screen comes to life and illuminates the room. It has already begun. I watch as he walks up to the edge of the platform and stands looking out over the cool, rippling water below. An eerie silence washes over the spectators as we wait. And wait... 
Prepare..take a breath..launch..pike..somersault..once, twice, three and a half times into a straight extension..arms through the water..vanish.
And so the spectacle continues as I look on amazed; awe-struck and inspired. One by one their bodies tease gravity with every twist and turn and I can't help but wonder how it is possible to fly through the air at 35mph with such grace and artistry.
As with anything in life, achieving greatness takes time and energy. An athlete's journey towards the perfect 10 will always include many hours of practice, belief, blood, sweat and tears. Still they continue on regardless. There will be moments on our journey where we naturally face obstacles and self-doubt. Sometimes, we breeze through this and come out the other end unscathed. Other times, we find ourselves belly-flopping in a spectacular fashion; temporarily winded. But that's ok. It's all good practice. Pulling ourselves up out of the pool, we dry ourselves off and start climbing the steps once again in the hope that the lesson learnt will take us just that little bit closer to reaching our great potential.

Sunday 29 July 2012

On your marks

Charged particles surround me and fly off across the planet. Something great has begun. As I look out over the water towards the packed stadium, helicopters swarm overhead like bumblebees in the dark. Sounds of cheering, laughing and whooping engulf the air making my heart beat just that little bit faster. I watch, and wait...
Shooting up into the cool, clear air, fireworks begin to illuminate the July night sky, accompanied by a deafening roar. Face lights up, hairs stand on end, and I'm awestruck at the sheer magnificence of it all. I am witnessing history in the making.
I can't help but think about what is to come over the next few weeks in this beautiful city. Men and women will push themselves harder than they have ever done before. Records will be broken and personal challenges will be set. I wonder what must go through an athlete's mind just seconds before the whistle blows. In that moment, nothing else exists...wings spread, they soar higher and higher.
It is absolutely incredible what we are capable of. Through our daily struggles and challenges, it’s easy for us to forget; we are so much more amazing than most of us realise. Whether our successes are personal or professional, pride comes from knowing that we tried our hardest in the face of adversity.
Simply getting up after a fall is worthy of rapturous applause.
So go out there and shine brightly. Strive to be the best you can and never lower your bar. Go for the gold...
You never know who you're going to inspire.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Excess baggage

I settle down onto the warm concrete ledge and wheel my bag closer in between my legs. As I lean forward to rest my arms upon it, a gust of wind whistles around the corner, up the steps, past the coffee shop and smashes into my face, forcing me to involuntarily close my eyes for a moment before continuing its journey towards the ticket hall and beyond. It is windy this afternoon despite the presence of blazing sun.
With my chin resting on my arms, I watch as people weave in and out of each other in a tangled dance of bodies and bags. It is fascinating.
And my mind begins to wander...I am catapulted back to the last time I stood in this station, surrounded by a sea of people and am instantly struck by associations.
As we navigate our way through life's twists and turns, inevitably, events can leave us with emotional baggage. Sometimes, the weight is so minimal, we barely notice it. And other times, it can feel like we are carrying around a big, old house with absolutely no idea of how to get rid of it.
Every day holds a new lesson for us and the challenge is to take the good from the bad and leave the rest behind...And if we are lucky enough, we might just have people in our life who will help us unpack...

Sunday 15 July 2012

Sunshine after the rain

Warm Sunday morning sun begins to dry off the remaining drops of water which glisten on the green leaves below. It rained again in the night. The hypnotic beating on my bedroom window usually sends me into a deep sleep within minutes.
Fresh coffee in hand, I sit on my balcony and look out. It has been a tough week and for the first time in ages, I completely fill my lungs with air and notice how instantly my muscles thank me for it.
Regardless of all the challenges we face and all the mountains we have to climb, life still goes on. The earth hasn't stopped moving. Neither has the canal, meandering gently past. And birds continue to sing joyfully overhead with a song that I don't quite understand but love none the less.
I notice a tiny spider descending slowly down a single piece of silvery thread towards her newly built web. She must have set to work early this morning as soon as the rain had stopped falling. And there is blue sky above once again. There has been so much rain lately, it seemed like the sky would be forever grey.
It is easy to get lost in our daily struggles and bogged down in our thoughts… But nothing happens for nothing and I can't help but wonder if the key to happiness and everything else we seek, has been within us the whole time.

Just to let you know that I have written another piece for the beautiful PoV magazine which is available to download now for free.'Vanish' is my third contribution so go and check it out...

Saturday 7 July 2012

At the end of the day

The last remaining minutes of the day's light holds on loosely as the planet spins 67,000mph away from the sun's bright rays, plunging us into darkness once again. As I reach over and turn off the bedside lamp in the quiet hotel room, I notice that now, with the absence of light inside, evening looks instantly brighter. The air suddenly drops a few degrees and a chill sweeps through the gap in the slightly open window and onto my face. I momentarily close my eyes.
As I look out over the tree tops and down towards the lake, the air conditioning unit whirs into action and fills the room with a hypnotic hum. Light from the NEC shimmers peacefully on the water and I am suddenly aware of all the different colours around me. The Canada geese that blocked the path this morning, are settling down for the night.
A wave of melancholy washes over me as I remember the last time I was in this city. Three years on, I realise how much I have changed.
There are times in life when we are met with challenges so personally encompassing, we think that we will never be the same again...and we never are. Everything that happens to us and every person we meet takes us into a new chapter of our life. Lesson learnt, we move forward...Sometimes easily, sometimes not so much. But we are all survivors and have an inner strength that we aren't aware of until we have no choice but to summon it forth.
I know that I really should get ready for bed in a minute as I have an early start... But for now I stand transfixed at the window, looking out to witness the end of another day.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Giraffe in a box

It was absolutely the last thing I expected to see! Turning the corner, I stopped dead in my tracks as a smile swept instantly across my face. I couldn't believe my eyes. He wasn't there yesterday. And now, here I stood, watching as he poked his head out of the bright red phone box, reaching up to munch on delicious green leaves which hung temptingly overhead; the perfect antidote to a cloudy evening in the city. The clash of imagery sent my mind off on a sideways journey. As I looked up, I began to think about belonging and of all the times in my life when I felt that I didn't quite fit in. I'm sure that most of us have been in that place more than once; the feeling that niggles deep within and a knowing that you are not where you really want to be. Whether physically, spiritually or mentally, something doesn't quite click; that there must be more to life...
Most of us are lucky enough to live in a corner of the world where we are free to be ourselves and express our light in whichever way we choose. And yet, we still sometimes find ourselves living lives that don't fully inspire or fulfil us.
But that's the thing about life... We can reinvent ourselves at any given moment and the opportunity to change for the better is always present, however, most of the time we have to be willing to step bravely out of our comfort zone and follow our hearts.
Once we do, we may just find that piece of contentment right around the corner.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Sticks and stones

I didn't really see it coming at first. It arrived like a bolt out of the blue. The thing that first registered was the dull thud as the fist slammed into my face. Shockwaves suddenly rushed around my body like a fiery electrical storm. Adrenaline began to pump as I held back the tears. They would not get to see them today, they didn't deserve them. And so I fought them back harder than I had ever done before. Names continued to fly at me and echoed around my mind. Upon seeing our teacher striding across the school playground, the bullies fled and I suddenly found myself standing alone once again; saved by the dinner bell.
Growing up, we are all told about sticks and stones, but the part about names never hurting us has never quite rung true. I, like most people on this planet, know that they can absolutely hurt...deeply.
Sometimes people can say wounding things. Sometimes they sting momentarily and sometimes, the effects can last a lifetime.
But underneath everything, when someone throws something hurtful our way, it is never really about us to begin with. They always reveal much more about the other person and once we realise this, it makes it easier for us to forgive and move on.
So when you think you're not special enough or good looking enough or clever enough or thin enough, I am here to tell you that you are! You are perfectly amazing just the way you are and there is not a single person on this entire planet that is identical to you. No one!

Sunday 27 May 2012


Left in front of right in front of left... One at a time, I slowly climb the steps towards the top. Pausing at the first platform, I look out to the narrow white board. The higher I climb, the faster my heart beats...until I reach the peak. Shuffling my way to the edge, my stomach jumps powerfully into my throat as I look down. Everything moves closer and further away simultaneously in true Hitchcock style. Attacking birds would seem like butterflies right now.
And so I stand there, frozen. Electricity coursing through my veins, I nervously smooth the hair out of my eyes, and glancing behind me, I am at least relieved to see that I'm alone up here. Turning back was not an option. I had made it my personal mission, my challenge of spirit to do this dive, and I wouldn't go back.
And so I close my eyes to the world. The smell of chlorine wafts up from the water below and enters my lungs. I could fight this or I could surrender.
Taking a deep breath, I lurch forward as gravity grabs my body and pulls me down with his strong hands. I travel through the air with such velocity that everything blurs away. Powerless.
I slice the water and journey deep into the blue. And I keep on going, further than I have ever been before.
As much as we would like, there are some things we just can't control. Whether it be love, life or everything in between, once we let go and surrender, we open ourselves up to exciting new possibilities.
Sometimes, we don't get what we want. But we always get what we need.

Monday 21 May 2012


The ball rolls up the ramp and gently clunks into the one in front. My favourite is still the sparkling blue one which reminds me of a moonlit swimming pool... But that was too heavy. Shame. It totally went with my outfit. Then there was the mauve ball...too light. Eventually I had settled on the matt green one which was just right. I wondered if Goldilocks would have had this much trouble choosing.
I slide my fingers into the holes and take a step forward for the penultimate time. Swinging the ball, it lurches forward as I release my grip and watch as it hits the floor with a dull thud. Suddenly picking up momentum it rolls quickly down the alley in an emerald blur and smashes slightly off-centre. All but two pins remain. And there they stand, taunting me in the distance...
I wait impatiently for my trusty ball to come rolling back as I visualise the pins falling to the ground, followed by rapturous applause and fireworks. 2nd place was within my grasp.
A flutter of excitement grows in my tummy as I send the ball flying towards its final destination. It is veering dangerously to the left but that's ok. It will correct itself in a minute...any minute now...and so I believe right up until the moment it plops into the gutter.
Shrugging my shoulders I turn, laugh and make my way back to my cold beer.
Sometimes in life things don't turn out the way we would like them to. As much as we want it, we don't always get that job, that person doesn't always love us back and our lottery numbers never seem to come up. But that's life. Everything happens for a reason and maybe, something even more amazing is waiting just around the corner.

Just to let you know that issue 3 of the wonderful PoV magazine will be out next month and once again, I am honoured to have a piece featured in it so will let you know when it's out.

Sunday 13 May 2012

A piece of peace

Sunday morning in the city. Even at 6.30am, there is a buzz in the air. As I sneak a peek from behind the blinds, there is something about the morning light that piques my interest. I have been awake for a while now and, resigned to the fact that I'm not getting back to sleep any time soon, I get up and turn on the coffee machine.
There has been so much rain lately; this blue, cloudless sky brings hope of a lovely day. The ghostly moon, still visible, is obscured momentarily by a plane's contrails cutting across its surface and, picking up my favourite mug, I take a sip of hot, freshly brewed coffee.
A dog barks in the distance. I wonder what he has seen to make him so vocal at this time of the morning.
Sitting here on the balcony, I am amazed at how much is going on right now. The constant hum of traffic resonates all around me, framed only by singing birds and honking geese.
Right now, I'm happy; able to breathe for the first time in ages.
A memory of waking up in an Italian hotel somewhere flashes through my mind and vanishes just as quickly, leaving behind the echo of a forgotten feeling.
I watch as a pair of Canada geese sweep gracefully overhead and notice, for the first time this morning that the sun is reflecting off the canal, sending its shimmering light through the trees.
Right now, in my contentedness, I feel connected to everything that is around me and as I finish off the last of my coffee, I make a promise to come to this place again soon.

Monday 7 May 2012

Breaking eggs

As the flour began to fall lightly through the sieve, I watched as the inside of the bowl turned white. Placing the sieve down, I reached for the first egg and sent it crashing down over the rim. A sudden crack filled the room as the contents splashed out into the dusty flour mound below. Soon the spotless work top became littered with shell shrapnel and I continued on, adding each ingredient until they were all together at last. I liked watching everything slowly come together with each stir of the spoon. It was like alchemy.
Once the final spoonful of mixture was dropped into its little paper case, I knew what was coming. I had no control over it and before I realised what was happening, my finger had made its way into the bowl, worked its way around the side and with a flourish, ended up in my mouth; my sweet reward.
Once they were in the safety of the oven, I had nothing to do but wait. As I surveyed the aftermath, I thought about the times in my life when things seemed so chaotic and messy. In the eye of the storm, it can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel and the knock-back is permanent. It never is however. Soon enough, if we’re lucky, we can come out of the other side, stronger and wiser with a much bigger heart.
In order to make a cake, we have to break a few eggs. Nothing is for nothing and every difficult experience in life holds inside it a beautiful gift. A gift of bringing us one step closer to the amazing person we truly are inside.

Monday 30 April 2012

Loose strings

As soon as it happened I knew that something was horribly wrong! I had carefully place three fingers one by one on their strings and, finding their home, held them firmly in place to listen as the other hand stroked gently downwards. A discordant noise rang out of my room and floated off into the hallway, making a cat somewhere in the distance run off and hide, quivering under a bush. Surely it can't need tuning again? I only did it a couple of weeks ago and haven't played it since...Hmmm.
There is something quite therapeutic about tuning my guitar. The combination of listening closely to the vibration until it feels right is fascinating. It is always painfully difficult to ignore when a musical instrument needs tuning up, and as I begin to tighten the strings, I can't help but wonder why it isn't as obvious when our lives are just as out of tune. Suddenly our hearing isn't as acute.
Sometimes we forget to look at our lives and attitudes regularly, and without realising it, some of our beliefs can quickly go out of harmony with who we truly are. People around us can have such an effect on us that our strings change and we don't even realise. Every day we shift ever so slightly and we need to give ourselves a regular emotional tune up so we are the most authentic version of ourselves possible. It important to take that moment to listen to your life and pay close attention to the notes being played; what kind of symphony is being created and is it the best melody for you?

A quick thank you from the bottom of my heart for following the blog every week - It means so much and I love you!

Saturday 21 April 2012

The Queen of Hadleigh

'I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing'
- Anais Nin

And I ran though the moving crowd, weaving in and out of suits and bags and shoes and limbs. Pushing forward through a rush hour of people, it was warfare; the quicksand making everything more difficult. And I carried on fighting forward until the call came... It was too late. She had gone! And everything suddenly stopped.

The door opened and there she stood; bright red lipstick highlighting her cheeky smile. She would always kiss me on my lips with such delicateness, inside I would smile. And there we would sit for ages surrounded by colourful crochet and ornaments and fabric flowers and the gas fire and small ornamental furry cats and sepia toned pictures hanging proudly on the walls. A room filled with trophies of a life fully lived. Every now and then the sound of a snooker ball crashing into another followed by muffled applause would float out of the TV to catch her attention just long enough for me to stare at this frail, curly haired funny woman who fascinated me.
Reaching the front door she stopped and turned to the cupboard beneath the stairs. I always knew what was coming but managed to appear pleasantly surprised every time. Rummaging around for a moment she span around like a magician to reveal a tiny bag of sweets which she had pre-prepared in little clear plastic bags. There was always a treasure of sweet treats to leave with and I always felt the overwhelming urge to squeeze her so tightly when we hugged. And there she stood, waving and watching until we were finally out of sight.
In life, people come and go. Some stay for only a few minutes and others, a lifetime. And if we are really lucky, these people will leave an indelible mark on our hearts and there they will live eternally making us a better person in the process.

Nana Queenie, I love you and wish you joy on your new adventure.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Wet wings

The first few drops of cool spring rain splash onto the dark pavement below and quickly cover the bustling city. I watch as the drops roll down the glass and leave behind a glistening, hypnotic trail.
Light from shop windows spill out to reflect off the wet pavement and bounce up into the twinkling night sky. Everything shimmers around the giant angel wings in the centre of the square. I love those wings, outstretched and ready to fly.
Rain falls harder now and forces people below to run for cover in doorways and seek refuge from the sudden downpour. I smile as I watch the weaving dance with a feeling of warmth washing over me. I am right where I'm meant to be.
A memory of getting soaked to the skin in Milan splashes into my mind and rolls back out again just as quickly.
There is that magnificent moment when your clothes get sodden and you feel the cool water begin to seep through onto warm skin and you realise that there is no point in running for cover. And so you stand in the moment and become part of the downpour. The surrender brings peace. Nothing else exists in that minute.
The rain begins to ease off and doorways are slowly becoming empty once again.
I should make my way outside now and down towards the tube...but not just yet. I want to watch the angel wings for a little while longer.

Monday 2 April 2012

Shiny and new

There they were; a thing of beauty and shining like a beacon of hope in my scary, new city. I knew I wanted some as soon as I saw them. I had saved up some money by skilfully reducing that week's menu down to a jar of sandwich spread and salted crackers; Delia would have been impressed (or horrified). I watched as the sales assistant popped them into the blue plastic bag and bade me and my new best friend farewell.
A rush of pure excitement flooded through me as I sat on the end of the bed and began pulling them up over each leg.
That night we danced like never before. No one else existed; it was just us and the music. We were indestructible.
The sun was already coming up by the time I walked out into the dawn. Snaking my way through the veins of the city, I watched as the streets started to slowly wake and rub its eyes.
I had completely forgotten about my silver trousers by the time I arrived home.
It took me a couple of seconds to notice Cathy Dennis standing there with an entourage of charity workers, blocking my way. After greeting me good morning they cheerfully explained that the charity needed one more person to pose for a promotional picture. As I was there (and sporting the brightest legs in Soho) I reluctantly agreed, suddenly feeling slightly overdressed for the occasion. Smiling broadly, I watched as the photographer clicked the camera, marking the end of this wonderfully strange day.
16 years and several make-overs later, I can't help but chuckle. No matter where we go in life or who we meet on our journey, there will always be 'moments' to take our breath away. Some will be amazing, and some, challenging. But they all make us who we are today and if we are really lucky, we get to wear silver trousers along the way.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Spring forward

The air has changed again; days getting longer and evenings, warmer. As I wander along the glistening canal, a swan glides gracefully across the surface and catches my eye. Watching her move through the water, I am lost in time and everything stops still. A memory of me as a boy watching planes thunder down the runway and lift off into the air comes back to me out of absolutely nowhere. I stay there until the sound of a train rattling somewhere in the distance pulls me abruptly out of my reverie. I continue on. The wind picks up and blows through the weeping willow, making the branches sway majestically. A man jogs past me and for a brief moment I can hear his lungs fill with air and quickly empty. I smile as I suddenly become aware of my own breathing and it occurs to me that we are all built the same; we are one. I can't remember the last time I jogged.
The early evening sun continues to beat down onto me and fills me with its last rays of warmth. Soon, the sky will get darker and the air, cooler. In a few short hours I will be turning my clocks forward again before drifting off to sleep. But right now, I'm here, walking along the canal with my bright yellow daffodils lining the path.

Sunday 18 March 2012

59 seconds

59 seconds...
My arms fling around her neck and I pull her in tightly. There we stand in our embrace. The world stops spinning as I feel her chest move in and out with every breath. I can smell her perfume. It throws me right back. With all my might, I pull away and look into her smiling face. Her auburn hair glistens in the sun and is blown ever so gently in the breeze.
47 seconds...
I am finding it hard to form words but I know that I don't have long.
"I have so many questions to ask, I don't know where to begin. Where have you been all this time? I couldn't find you anywhere".
She smiles.
"I didn't go anywhere, my darling. I have been here with you the whole time. Remember the day you stood looking over at the ocean and tears ran down your face? I was there holding you. Just look in the mirror; you have my eyes".
30 seconds...
"Do you have any regrets?"
She thinks about this question for a second.
"Life is too short for regrets, my angel boy. Every choice we make takes us to another place. There is no right or wrong; just life experience. We always get to where we are meant to be eventually anyway. Trust your instincts".
18 seconds...
A breeze picks up and swirls pink blossom around us.
"Why does life sometimes feel so hard? Some days it feels impossible to move through".
Her hands lift up towards my face and as they hold onto me, she looks directly into my eyes.
"There will always be challenges to overcome. That is part of life. Please remember, these are only opportunities to show the world who you really are. We are stronger than our bodies give us credit for. Use these times to shine, my darling boy".
7 seconds...
A wave of anger washes over me as I realise that this is it.
"I miss you so much. I wish you were always here. I have so many questions still to ask".
"I know my angel, I know. Everything we need to know is inside each and every one of us. Never forget how much I love you. I live in your heart. You are never alone".
1 second...
I hug her so tightly; I worry that she might break. The wind picks up...and she is gone.
Just one more minute.

If you could have just one minute more, what would you ask?

Sunday 11 March 2012

Cloudy morning

I close my eyes just as the watery Sunday morning sun finally pushes its way through grey clouds and lands gently on my face. The warmth quickly penetrates my skin and, for a few seconds, I am transported to a desert island somewhere with nothing but the lapping waves around me to keep me company. I am at peace and my mind is still from relentless chatter. Sensing my leave of absence, the clouds pull together and protectively cover the source of light. The air once again turns cooler as the sky closes in.
The squawk of geese flying overhead sends my mind racing once again. In the distance, through a gap in the clouds, bright rays begin to burst through and I wonder who is feeling it on their skin right now. I think about everyone who I have in my life; family, friends, Facebook pals; each and every connection just as important in my life story. A growing cast in the play, all feeling the sun on their faces at different times.
I realise right at this very minute, there are many people scattered across various parts of our planet, somewhere, who I love dearly. Some are probably laughing, some possibly crying but all of them, certainly feeling something.
The air is slowly changing. I can feel it. Soon the clouds will move south to reveal a bright blue, sparkling sky. Until then, I will watch and wait, happy in the knowledge that someone, somewhere is basking in the sun.

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Sunday 4 March 2012

Back to the future

This afternoon, I time travelled.
It came like a bolt out of the blue. Trees and pavement instantly melted away and before I knew it, I had been grabbed and thrown backwards into 1989. Verse to bridge to chorus; each chord holding me tighter and deeper in the reverie. I watched as I lay on my single bed looking up at my prized Kylie poster. Feeling every single piece of emotion rush back through my veins, I had no choice but to stay in the moment, reliving every second of a first love and giant dreams. Three and a half minutes later, I was back to 2012 with a jolt.
This shuffle button was causing me to leap backwards and forwards erratically without any concern for sequentiality. I had only just got my bearings when it happened again. 2009; I observed myself looking out of the tour bus window towards rolling Italian countryside. Engulfed by my history, I witnessed it all over again passively; the warm evening sunset reflecting off the glass on which I rested my head; it all felt so real. I was back.
Once again, the song faded out as I was picked up and flicked back to the future. And this continued on for the duration of my journey. Some songs made my stomach ache; some brought a big smile to my face.
Music is the soundtrack to our lives and as we move forward, certain songs will act as a personalised time travel machine. If we are lucky enough, these tunes will connect us to a moment in our story and be a reminder of how far we have come on our journey and how far we have yet to go.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Secret identity

Her name is Jane. No, her name is Annabelle. Long blonde hair cascading down over narrow shoulders, she sits opposite me and never once glances up from her romance novel. It is an escape for her. In a few short minutes she will be walking through the open-plan office and through to the kitchenette. Just as the coffee starts to drip into the pot, she will feel a strong arm around her waist, making her jump. She spins around and he kisses her passionately.
Personal trainer Carl gets on just before the doors close and sits down next to me. Placing his gym bag in between his legs he pulls out his phone. Scrolling through text messages, he grins as he stops at one. It is from his girlfriend Claire. No, it is from his boyfriend Brad. They are off to Vegas to get married and the flights have just been confirmed.
Music teacher Betty gets up, straightens her collar and gets ready to leave. She looks tired. I'm not surprised. Her newborn baby kept her up for most of the night.
As I walk towards the doors, Pilot Michael catches me in his periphery and looks up momentarily. Our eyes meet. I can't help but wonder who he sees standing next to him; Tom the photographer? James the lifeguard? Rufus the undercover police officer?
We all have a story, each one perfectly unique and if we are lucky enough, we get to see the real person behind the mask.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Room 209

The key card goes in, the light turns green and I swing open the door.
Falling back onto the bed, the crisp white linen crumples around me as I lie there in the darkness. I have no urgency to illuminate my surroundings, not yet. I remain there frozen in time. For now, this is right where I'm meant to be.
It's funny how, wherever one goes in the world, a hotel room will always be the same, the familiar in an unfamiliar city. Memories of a year living out of them come back to me in an instant. I relive every minute in glorious Technicolor as if watching a montage in a movie, accompanied by instrumental music. Laughter and tears resonate through my mind as they carry me across an ocean.
The sound of a door opening and closing somewhere down the corridor pulls me abruptly from my reverie just as the air conditioning unit clicks on and whirs into action.
My thoughts turn to the other guests above and below who are settling down for the evening in their rooms. What are they doing right this very minute? Watching trashy TV? Saying goodnight to a child on the phone? Brushing their teeth whilst feeling sick about their meeting tomorrow? The endless possibilities contained within the hotel grounds suddenly make the world a bigger place.
I roll over and reach into the darkness. Finding the button, I wake up my phone: 23:42. In a moment I will turn on my bedside lamp and get ready for bed, but not yet. I want to swim in this room for a little while longer.

Sunday 12 February 2012


As the train rocks gently from side to side, the monotonous sound of clickety clack hypnotises me. I am caught in a trance. Gazing out across the horizon towards rolling fields and frosty hedgerows, I watch as the world whizzes by effortlessly. I am part of the blur.
Turning my head, I watch as the lovers opposite simultaneously take sips of hot coffee out of cardboard cups. The man to my right flips over his newspaper with a rustle, and laughter rings out a few seats in front of me; snapshots of people’s journey imprinted in my mind forever.
Sleepily, I turn my attention back out of the window just in time to see a couple of Canadian geese land gracefully onto the sparkling lake as we continue snaking onwards.
Life takes us in many different directions. Sometimes the journey is smooth and straight, other times, we are buffeted around in such a way that we can fall out of our seats. Some of the passengers on our train have been there from the very beginning, remaining for the entire journey as part of the furniture. Then there are the people who board for a few stops only. Their brief presence in our carriage infinitely enriches our life and changes us forever.
For a few moments nothing else exists. My eyes begin to close as I drift gently off into a deep sleep, trusting that I will awaken before my stop.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Risky business

I saw it again last night whilst walking through the darkened alley towards home. In between finger-like branches, it shone out in the shadows like a harbinger of doom, taunting me, teasing me. Its message was clear and echoed loudly as I continued on my journey. The sign designed to strike fear into the heart of every man, woman and child, stared silently down.
Averting my gaze, I looked up at the cloud covered moon with thoughts of danger bouncing through my mind as I continued on.
We climb aboard rollercoasters, jump out of planes, swim with the sharks and bungee off bridges. Aware of the hazards, we buckle up regardless and take that leap of faith into the unknown, hoping that we will get to live happily ever after.
With everything in life, anything worth doing carries a risk. Whether it be leaving the house or falling in love, there is always a chance that someone will get hurt. But these are the things which make life sparkle and we are braver than we give ourselves credit for.
Don't let the danger of death stop you from living; some things are worth the risk.

Monday 30 January 2012

The canyon

I fastened my seat belt tightly, checked it and tugged on it again for good measure. I pulled on my headphones as the propellers began to turn, quickly matching the speed of my thoughts. In a few short seconds, with all the pre-flight checks made, the tarmac gently drifted away from us as we took to the air. I couldn't believe that I was actually doing the one thing which I vowed I would never do.
In that moment I realised that I had no choice but to let go of everything. From way up here, the only thing I had any control over were my thoughts. I decided that I wouldn't miss this for the world; and so I breathed. With every intake of air I felt my body relax and let go. I suddenly began to smile as I looked down over the Hoover Dam, the sun glistening on the water. Circling around, we continued up and out towards the canyon.
After gently touching down onto rocky earth, I stepped out into one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I looked out across the horizon and couldn't help but wonder about the nature of fear and how it can prevent us from doing certain things in life; Moments which enrich and colour the world around us.
Sometimes in life, we have to embrace our fears and do the one thing which terrifies us the most in order to feel truly alive. And in that moment, I felt more alive than ever.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Broken wings

I always made sure that I got to my spot just in time to watch the sun disappear over the horizon and into the sea. Sitting on cool pebbles, I waited for the spectacle to begin with just the sound of lapping waves and squawking gulls to keep me company.
I knew when it was about to start by the eerie silence that washed over the abandoned pier. I would wait and wait and wait...
Then all at once, they appeared; hundreds of starlings would burst out into the crimson sky and begin to swarm around like bees, weaving in and out of each other as if choreographed by Matthew Bourne himself. Transfixed by their aerial acrobatics, every twist and turn took my breath away. It was a beautiful show, worthy of a standing ovation.
Our own style of flight changes from day to day; Sometimes we glide effortlessly like an eagle, wings spread, riding high on warm currents and a gentle breeze. Other days, like a swallow, we flap manically just to stay aloft through life's challenges and our wings are left a little battered and bruised. These are the moments in which we think we will never fly again...
But we always do. We were designed that way and can fly with broken wings.

Sunday 15 January 2012


"Friendship with oneself is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

My best friend and I have always had a tempestuous relationship.
I've known him for years and we have gone through so much together. We've flown across oceans and walked on desert, drank Spritz in Italian piazzas and ate sandwiches in the Grand Canyon. I remember us crying in the dark once at a sad movie and laughing loudly afterwards until it hurt. We have had so much fun.
Some days I really feel his support and his kind words encourage me. Occasionally, when frightened, he will judge me and effortlessly put me down, knowing exactly which buttons to push. Sometimes he tells me that I am not good enough and that I am going to fail, always directly to my face.
In spite of all this though, I know that he will always be right by my side forever and I need to constantly work on the relationship I have with him. He is after all, part of me - my history and my future wrapped into one.
We all have a best friend inside us and it's this relationship which is the most important. We can nurture this friendship in a supportive and loving way so that no matter what, there will always be that confidant with whom we can trust, who will always have our back and tell us that we are good enough and that we can do it!
Be your own BFF. 

Don't forget that my piece for the brilliantly creative PoV magazine comes out tomorrow so make sure to download it for free. It's going to be great.

So, as it's a new year, I thought it would be fun to add a little something to the mix...Hey, why not I hear you cry. This week I have added a short poll (just to the right of the post) so why not take a look and vote.

Please keep your comments coming as it's always great to hear from you. Don’t forget you can share and subscribe too if you fancy - just saying.

Sunday 8 January 2012


The bongs rang out, hairs stood up and the breeze of hope rushed in. The warm embrace of each resolution hung heavy in the air set against a backdrop of spectacular pyrotechnics.
Well, first was the inspiring 'To get fit and tone up', followed closely by the vaguer 'Sort out my career' which was then tailed by the troublesome 'Eat less chocolate'...
I am sure I'm not the only one who makes such internal declarations every New Year. With all the best intentions, the year usually starts off positively and then slowly, one by one, old habits begin to creep in through the cat flap. Before you know it, you are making the same resolutions twelve months later all the while thinking 'This will be the year...'
For 2012 I have a different plan.
My list is shorter and weighs less heavily on my shoulders. It's time to simplify. This year my resolution is this: When presented with a choice, I will ask myself 'What would the most incredible version of me do?' and wait for the answer.
Changes mostly arrive when we aren't looking and sometimes our mini successes come to rest right next to us without fanfare. But they come anyway and bring us one step closer to the person we wish to be.
We are growing every day. Each moment is an exciting new beginning and a perfect opportunity to show the world how amazing we truly are. You are!