Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Magic Breadcrumbs

It is not that I have nothing to say that I am silent. It is that my saying is going elsewhere.

I have so many drafts sitting on this blog - but none are choosing to come to life. And any that do immediately turn into articles and guest posts... for other places.

And so I feel bad that you are left with breadcrumbs. And so I offer you the crumbs that have blown my way this day. Let them touch your soul too. Light you up with the magic that I do not have to scatter myself right now. (Just know that I am well, and life is good.)

And this... The Perfect Mom from Finding Joy - a lovely blog I've just discovered 
"When we're old and sitting around playing Bingo or Bridge or whatever we'll be doing during those years I don't think that we're going to be talking about the labels that we've given ourselves.  You know what you and I will talk about? We'll talk about our lives - the mountains we climbed and the times in the valley and the normal days and how brave we were. We'll talk about our stories.

Your story.

It matters. Even if the story isn't perfect or the labels aren't what you thought they would be. At the heart you're still mom. Wait. At the heart you are mom."
Image: Michelle Gardella.

This precious project from Michelle Gardella:


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Here be business bargains - so hurry!

A-har-there, me hearties, Paptin Hook here,  (as my littlest says), telling you that today be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrrr! So set your Facebook to Pirate (you can REALLY do this - scroll to the bottom and I'll tell you how - but prepare to pee yourself laughing!!) What is more, you scurvy rascals, there are fine pickings to be had from business big and small. Gold to be saved. But you gotta be speedy if you don't want to walk the plank... let me tell you more!

(Translation: I just wanted to let you all know that as an affiliate of a number of schemes I get emails telling me when sales are on. Sales that I would miss otherwise. And that you might too. If you're on the look out for website/ business tools and services then there seems to be a bumper crop at the moment!)

Web hosting and domains

Hostgator - who host The Happy Womb, are having a mad 24 hour sale to mark "Talk Like a Pirate Day"! So if you are looking to purchase a domain (URL) or to get web hosting they have SLASHED their prices for today only. 44.4% off hosting and domains for just $5!!! But really just today... so you have to get cracking! I have never had a problem with their servers and am coming up to my third year's renewal, and when I was struggling with setting up my Wordpress site I spent many hours with their extremely helpful customer service reps both talking and messaging, they were SO knowledgeable, efficient and polite.

Moo - no, it hasn't turned into Speak like a Farm Animal Day, this is REALLY the name of the company that I do my printing with - both my gorgeous business cards and greetings cards - I have placed 3 orders with them in the last month during their two sales! At the mo they are offering 25% off everything. Their quality is second to none. Gorgeous thick card stock. Glossy, classy cards with vibrant colour printing - and you can get 25 different greetings cards, or 50 different business cards in one print run - so you can experiment, play, take chances and have fun without having to commit to big, scary expensive print runs. Their website is super easy to use and they are quick delivering. Everyone says wow when they see my business cards, the only problem is having to stop people going off with handsful of them! (You can even get a free sample pack with free shipping just so you can see what I'm talking about!! )

Business Card sample pack

Artist websites
Also if you're on the look out for an artist's website, may I recommend Artist Websites - $30 a year, simple templates, they handle printing and shipping, you deal with sales of original paintings and commissions and they do not take a financial commission from this. You can display as many designs/ photographs/ paintings/ drawings as you like, arrange them into galleries. Simple as pie to use and very professional looking.

And just a reminder that Leonie's Business academy doubles its prices on 1st October, and Flora Bowley's next e course starts on the 30th September. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!

Yes these are ALL affiliate links. From companies that I use, trust and wholeheartedly recommend. It's a sell-o-bration!

1) Go to the little cog symbol on the top menu bar (far right corner)
2) Click and select "Account Settings option"
3) In the window that opens go to the bottom "Language" and when you select languages there, just above English (UK) is English (Pirate).
4) Hit "Select" and prepare to pee your pants laughing"""

Monday, September 16, 2013


My brother called cucumber "bocum" when he was two. He has just turned 20 and the whole family still calls it bocum!

This post is a celebration of kid-speak. Those precious words, you know, the ones your child makes up, or muddles up, that bring such a freshness to language that your family repeats them for years? I just love them!

In the haze of the last few years intensity, I do not remember many neologisms from our elder two children, I'm sure I stashed them away on a scrap of paper at the bottom of their file in the filing cabinet. The only ones I remember are Timmy's ham-pine car-vester, and then pine cone harvester for combine harvester.

And Merrily's wonderful phrase which she still uses: "I'm true" - which means I'm telling the truth. But I just love that turn of phrase - I'm true!

But at three Ash is in full flow and has so many sweet ones that I want to share and remember here.

For about a year she called an elephant a sur-lap. That took a lot of figuring out - but we all call them that now!

Dogglers are what she calls goggles - my heart just melts every time she asks me to put her dogglers on - it's like proper BFG-speak.

Now, where be your dogglers, little girl? 

And then yesterday she asked Patrick to take her badger off. She meant her badge of course, but my mind was conjuring up images of cute black and white furry creatures!

In our household female gentalia is called a yoni - but the way she says it sounds like own-y - which is rather lovely - my own-y, as in my very own special part of me. And friend's son calls his genetalia peanuts - a great combination of penis and nuts!

And yesterday she was telling me that they were playing with a power suit at play school, it took me a while to realise that she meant parachute!

And then of courses there's Paptin Hook.  Who sounds much less scary than the real pirate captain!

Please do share your family's kid-speak below! I can't wait to hear their funny, creative uses of language!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blooming True

For those of you who are newer to the blog, you may not believe that before February 2012 I had not painted since school.

Really. It's blooming true!

I was so convinced that I couldn't paint, that when a friend suggest I start painting again, I snapped at her: "I don't have time for that, I already use all my time writing. And any way, I can't paint."

She didn't believe me. And she had planted the seed of self doubt in me too. Perhaps I could paint again... with the right person to help guide and unblock me, to hold my hand, but let me do it totally my own way.

Two days later I discovered the most incredible painter's blog, by chance... and spotted she was doing an e-course the next month. I took less than 24 hours to sign up!

And the rest is history! 40 paintings flowed out over the next 2 months. I did my first professional exhibition. Got some cards printed. Then I really started following some dreams - I started to submit paintings of mine, as well as writings, to publications I love: Juno, Earth Pathways Diary and We'Moon... and they were accepted. I have my own artist website with prints, cards and the originals for sale. And now I am receiving commissions. Other people believe that I can paint and am willing to pay me to paint their own visions. I have bloomed true, thanks to her.

True Nature by Flora Bowley
The artist's name is Flora Bowley. The course is Bloom True with Flora Bowley (for a whole selection of her paintings check out my Flora Bowley board on Pinterest). And she's offering it again at the end of this month, and I wanted to be sure you knew!

It's a five week course jam packed with beauty and inspiration, creativity, soul, color and intuition. She paints alongside you, and you see the unfurling of two new paintings with great close up shots, whilst being guided through her intuitive painting process, painting with pattern and colour, to create your own expressions of beauty and soul.

If you've been wanting to get into, or back into painting, learn some new techniques, get out of a rut or just get your creative juices flowing, whether you're a pro, an absolute beginner or somewhere in between, I really cannot recommend her highly enough. I love her teaching and are so much that I gave my mother a gift of a painting retreat with her for her 60th birthday.

This painting adventure will begin on Monday September 30th, 2013, and will run for 5 weeks. Registration for the September, 2013, session is open nowIt is a wildly popular course and places are limited so be sure to secure your spot.

Flora painting [Image: Zipporah Lomax]

Bloom True Content Includes:

30 videos professionally shot in HD in Flora’s Portland studio and home
 Daily posts Monday-Saturday for five weeks, including five theory lessons and ten painting sessions
 A series of creative prompts and challenges
 Basic yoga instruction
 Great painting music from from a variety of musicians throughout course
Downloadable audio painting prompts which you can put on your MP3 player and use over and over as you work
Downloadable audio meditation which you can put on your MP3 player and use over and over
 Five in-depth audio interviews with Flora about her life and career as a painter
 Access to a community of like minded people from across the world
A heartfelt and uplifting approach to painting that just might change the way you paint forever.

PLUS Six months’ extended classroom access, so you can watch the videos and access the lessons as many times as you like during those six months.

This course is for you if:
You want to discover a unique and liberating approach to painting which can translate into all areas of your life.
You want to let go, be bold and unfold in ways you’ve never imagined.
You are prepared to take risks, be brave and trust in this unique and unknown process (awkward “teenage” stages and all).
You are ready to feel the fear of the unknown, but take the leap anyway!
This course is NOT for you if:
You are looking for a course with specific step-by-step painting techniques/instructions that will lead you to a predictable outcome.  Although many techniques will be shared in this course, this is much more about discovering a new intuitive approach to creating rather than following specific guidelines — just wanting to be clear on that.

For more information or to register click here!

This post contains affiliate links - because I share, and sell-e-brate women's work that I love.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

10 Reasons Why I Hate my Bank

I am FUMING after another lengthy and crappy encounter with my bank. I went in to pay 3 cheques and close a business account and three days later am still fuming.

But life is good for us really. Our house is not currently being repossessed. We are not trying to fend off phone calls and endless meetings about mortgage repayment issues. We have not tried to change our direct debit recently. We are not being overcharged on our renegotiated mortgage payments meaning we have no money for groceries. We are not overdrawn.

I have friends in all the above situations who are sick with anxiety and stress from it. And every interaction with the bank leaves them feeling more powerless and frustrated.

Anger towards the banks in Ireland is HIGH. Anger at every level of the system which screws with you and makes you feel used and abused.

Let me add a disclaimer right now - this is not directed at bank employees per se, who I know have been at the blunt end of a lot of shit. My anger is directed at individuals, and banks as a generic mass, and my particular branch... So let me continue...

1) They charge me to put money into my account. No other bank that I have banked with in the UK, Japan or France have done this.

2) They charge me to take money OUT of my account. Ditto.

3) They do not pay me interest on the money that they are sitting on. My last bank paid me 7.5% interest.

4) The government charge me tax for any cheque book, credit card or ATM card I have. This is just shit. Ditto above points.

5) SOOOO paying through the nose for each of these services one would expect great service... ummm.... no! You have to queue for 20-30 minutes if you go to the bank between 10.30 and 3.30. To be served by the ONE cashier. This is in a major town - population 15,000 with at least that many people again in the outlying area. In fact out bank has recent been redesigned - with money for us of course - to cut down the customer service positions from 2 behind a service desk, to one floating adviser, to cut cashiers from 3 to 1 sometimes two, and to replace them with a bank of machines.

6) The machines will not accept notes that have been folded to much. Cheques with staples in, or that have been folded at all. That is most of what I try to pay into the bank. Once they even lost a substantial fundraising cheque I paid in. Gone.

7) But if you try to use the cashier, you pay double for a woman with a serious case of the grumps.Who then can't do what you want either.

8) Our bank branch refused to give us a very small mortgage, despite the fact we had a substantial deposit, had a well paid steady job, and had paid off a different mortgage with them, without fail, for 12 years. The same branch of the bank in the next town gave us the mortgage - we named our third child after that woman! That is how grateful we were to have a family home and a woman who cared enough to help us negotiate the mortgage madness with kindness and caring.

9) We, the tax payers bailed out the banks...without any say in the matter. Our children will still be indebted because of this. The economy tanked. Businesses closed. Lots of people became unemployed and suddenly couldn't pay mortgages. The banks do not give a flying fuck. They do not see the morality of do as you have been done to - we bailed your corporate, capitalist butts out - but you can sell family homes from under people, to get YOUR money back.

10) It makes no difference if I change banks cos they're all the same. Everyone I know in Ireland hates their bank.

Here endeth the rant.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Number One Transformational Resource

Everyone I meet seems to want to know how to join the revolution - the creative entrepreneur revolution.

They see what I'm doing, and feel their own dream calling them. And they want to know HOW:  how do I start a blog/ publish an e-book/ have the courage to put myself out there/ start a business website/ price my work with integrity/ find like-minded creative women to support me on my journey/ learn how to brand my new business/ sell my art online...

I get emails, Facebook messages and face to face questions almost every day. I try to give practical advice but my time and energy are limited - as is someone's capacity to take on that much information in one go! (I do speak rather fast!!!) And so my real advice is go straight to my source!

Leonie Dawson...

It was from her that I learned to embrace my creative mother side, to be a creative entrepreneur, and do business online. I learned how to be a woman in business whilst keeping my integrity intact and my soul singing. Her work is accessible, transformational... and FUN! 

For those of you who've been hanging round the blog awhile, you'll know how much I sing her praises - and so you kind of switch off, or take it with a pinch of salt.



Because I'm an affiliate, I know when people buy, and LOTS of readers bought her Life and Business  Year Planners via me this New Year (thank you all xxxxx). And I was then deluged with emails saying:

 "I used to just tune you out when you talked aobut Leonie, I didn't like her flowery language/ wasn't keen on the goddess thing/ thought it might be a bit airy fairy...but HOLY MAMA! This woman ROCKS! And she knows her shit. And it works! I've doubled my income... I'm having to work less... I've just written my first e-book!!!! 
Woah! you're right! Why didn't I listen to you earlier - this woman is A-MAY-ZING! But now all my friend's think I'm mad/ annoying/ in love/ totally on the hard sell cos I won't stop talking about how amazing she is!"

So if that's you, then listen up! I just found out that she's upping the price on her Amazing Biz and Life Academy (formerly The Goddess Circle) on 1st October.  It's going from $199 to $495.

So if you had been sitting on the fence, wanting to join but dilly-dallying, then get off it now and JUMP IN!!!!! I have just signed back up and am so excited to be back there - it's a powerful place where mini miracles happen. I'm back in time for my upcoming book launch, and to help find tools to support myself more in my business (for that read finally get the courage to pay an assistant!)

It's $199 for a year. And for that you get:
  • Her business e-course which is worth that money alone
  • Access to many, many more e-courses, meditations, e-books: her new one on growing a business team, radiant living, creativity, home decluttering etc
  • Her 2014 Life and Business Planners - which have TRULY TRANSFORMED MY WORK-LIFE this year.
  • Full access to the most incredible networking circle from which I found SO many collaborators, customers,  fans and soul-sisters last time round. This is unquestionably THE most important resource in the package - a private sisterhood of like-minded women sharing ideas, resources and support in growing creative businesses and blossoming lives.
  • If its previous incarnation as a goddess circle put you off a bit - which it did me - she's not using that language any more!
  • For more on what you get from the program and to read what other women, including me are saying about it, click here
Last time round it was the best birthday present I ever gave myself.  (It would make the most incredible birthday present for a soul-sister.) This time round it's the most sensible business investment I'll be making.

I hope to see you at the Academy! Let the transformations commence!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Emotional Stew with Dumplings on Top

My feelings are all of a muddle.

I had been warned by mothers a-plenty that this would happen. But, in the way we all get through life, I had decided that it wouldn't happen to me. That I would be different. I was, after all, exempt from the emotions of other mere mortals.

Yeah right!

So the morning that I have been longing for for almost 4 years arrives. Ash started playschool today. And now all three kidlets are in school/ playschool five mornings a week.

Am I dancing on the rooftops?

Nope. My mama heart is broken open, sad and lonely. Echoes of silence mock my glee at being alone. I go to a cafe to be fed and have company.

I am sad.

But I know I will be happy.

I feel empty, but know I will be fuller and richer as a result.

I am an emotional stew with dumplings on top!

Change, change, change. That is the only constant in this life. We long for it... then suffer through it. And never learn. As stifling as the present moment usually is, the future is often emptier. Emptiness opens up space for potential new growth. But it is only when we have the space that we see how much we are attached to the past that we struggled with.


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