Plastic Free July and why it matters

Every year, for a month, there is a small organisation that encourages people around the world to go “plastic free” for a month. This is a hard thing to do but it is something I attempt to do each year.

It’s generally accepted that if we use less single-use plastic, it will improve our environment in the broadest sense, but this article isn’t about saving the world in that sense.

The point of me sharing this (aside from a small encouragement for you to consider the level of single-use plastic in your life) is to highlight the process of doing something different.

I generally succeed at quite a few of the “quick wins” for reducing plastic use. I always have a reusable cup to hand; I take my own water bottle with me and I bring my own shopping bags. Now though, these don’t count for much as there aren’t too many opportunities for being out and about. This will change and these habits will stick with me. So, what about everything else?

During July, I’m more aware than ever about the choices I make and the impact that they might have. This can lead to analysis/paralysis where you don’t do anything because there can be too much to consider and it’s impossible to decide. To get round this I stick to a few key values/reasons/rules which means it’s easier to do the thing. In terms of plastic, there’s a balance between price, time and needing the object. I’m going to consider if I can afford the plastic-free alternative, do I have time to make/create the alternative and do I actually need the thing in the first place.

We make so many choices each day that we’re not aware of – sometimes it helps to be aware that you’re making a choice.

This year has started with an audit of the supermarket shop where about 50% of the items are plastic wrapped. The next stage is to look in a bit more detail about what those items are and if they can be replaced with plastic free ones.

I’m not going to be completely plastic free, but for this month at least I will be a little bit more plastic-free than usual. At the end of the month, I can see which actions/habits will stay and which ones won’t. There is no right or wrong on this.

What’s important to me is that this is a great example of making a life change. It feels a bit uncomfortable; I do have to keep reminding myself and I’ll undoubtedly slip up along the way. But I really would like to reduce the amount of single use plastic, so I need to try it out, find what works and keep practicing it.

Plastic free July may not be your thing, but perhaps writing a book July might be, or fitness August will be your thing. Here’s how:

  • Pick a topic
  • Audit how much you do already
  • Be aware of the choices you make not to do it
  • Decide to do the thing (for as long or as little as you want)
  • Reflect and review at the end of the month*

*It doesn’t have to be a month although this is a good period of time to really give it a go, but not too long that it seems unachievable from the start.

For help in choosing your thing, or encouragement and tips for how to make a change, get in touch.

For more about Plastic Free July go here


It’s almost 2 weeks into the new year and already the posts that promise a “New You for the New Year in 6 easy steps” are fading to the bottom of the social media news pile. Add to that the increasing pile of anti-new-year-resolutions posts and it almost feels as if we should simply pick up where we left off in a fug of mulled wine and mince pies sometime in mid-December. After all, if we believe everything that’s written we’re doomed to failure even if we do buck the trend and make some resolutions. And so we resolve not to resolve.

This is all good. We are enough exactly as we are right now. We can commit to change at any time if that’s what we want and need.

Although I’m going to give New Year’s Resolutions a final hurrah. Right now, in the depths of winter is a great time to start something.

Firstly there’s often a break in routine over Christmas – and whether we view this positively or negatively – it gives us a chance to take a step back and review where we’re at. You may do this consciously or it may happen somewhere deep in the subconscious. Have you loved spending time with your family? Are you looking forward to going back to work? Did you enjoy your Boxing Day walk? Whatever brought you joy and made you feel alive is the start of identifying what you need more of in your life. If there were things that filled you with tension then find a way to do less of these over the coming months.

Secondly let’s look at the word resolution to mean a firm decision to do or not do something; or the action of solving a problem or contentious matter. So what do you want to decide to do or not this year? What is the problem you see in your life that by “solving” would give you a lighter, happier day?

And finally, what to do about it, once you have your resolution? It’s a new year so there’s enough time to resolve without over committing to a short term deadline. Give yourself time to really imagine what life will be like once you’re living your decision; problem solved. (Yes, this is day dreaming) And only once you’ve got that picture can you start doing the things to get you there.  It could be a big leap – quitting you job – or it could be smaller steps – a regular lunchtime walk or an evening class. The trick to make it stick is to do those things that make you come alive when you’re doing them. Don’t focus on the end goal all the time. Enjoy the journey, you’ll make it to your destination quicker and with a smile on your face.

What are your next steps? What are you finding hard to start? I’d love to hear about it on my Facebook page. If you need a helping hand, get in touch for information on 1:1 coaching to help you start doing your dreams


The early hours of the morning are creeping up on me and I realise that I’ve had barely any sleep. I’m wearing all my clothes and several layers from other people and I’m still too cold to sleep. I had a mountain to climb and my fears about the quality of the porridge that had been deteriorating all week were about to come true. I was wishing I was anywhere else but where I was.

That’s one of my baselines. A point in time that is fixed in my mind as something not to repeat, but to hold close and know that I survived to tell the tale.

The route up the mountain

When we’re thinking about doing something new, we often find resistance to getting started. All too often, it’s the fear of what might happen – failure? Not enjoying it? Having people say, I told you so? Having a reference point, helps to keep things in perspective and can wipe out those excuses.

When we think about what’s the worst that can happen it can be difficult to come up with something really bad, that we really think will happen. Try it. Try answering the question “what’s the worst that can happen” for something that you’re itching to do, but are fighting against.

When we’ve been in a situation that was really bad we realise that we’ve got through it. It’s something to look back on and possibly not to return to, but it turned out OK in the end.

And so we have our baseline. A point in time, or a situation, that we can refer to  “if it was as bad as [insert baseline situation here], would I do it?” And this helps to make our decisions easier.  It takes away those excuses about what might happen if we do this new thing because we can to a certain extent quantify the risk. It’s already becoming real and that immediately reduces the fear generated by the imagination.

Yes, there’s always a risk that it might not turn out exactly how you want. There’s always a risk that something happens that’s worse that you can imagine.

And so you set a new baseline, because undoubtedly you will deal with whatever happens as it happens (it’s easier this way than thinking “what if?” before it happens). It’s called extending your comfort zone and creates a new reference point that lets you do bigger things. It allows you to face new challenges and brings with it the twists and turns of life that keep it full.

Have fun reflecting on your baselines and if you need help putting this into action, give me a shout

My baselines could well be extended in a couple of weeks when I travel to Uganda for a Cricket without Boundaries project. I’m raising funds for this charity to support cricket development and raising awareness of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. If you are able to donate a small amount, I would be hugely grateful. The easiest way to donate is online here.

Respect the distance

With 2 days to go, it struck me that 50km is a long way to walk. I obviously knew this when I agreed to do it, but it hadn’t fully registered with me quite what the challenge was. And two days isn’t really enough to prepare for this. I was telling myself that 6 weeks earlier I’d run 60km. But I’d prepared for that and I had trained in running. Walking – in theory – is easier than running, but in practice, I find the different muscles that are engaged always get me behind the knee. And did I mention this was happening overnight?

As with all challenges, there are two choices – to do, or to not do. What do we need to consider when we choose to do?

Mostly, respect the distance. And this is true, metaphorically, for life as well as literally for endurance events. Recognise that it’s a long way and that change can take a long time; that most people won’t even try and that sometimes you need to take a break half way. Recognise that getting to the start line and giving it a go may in itself be the change you’re looking for.

Even if you start slow, start. Whether you adopt the tortoise or the hare approach the most important thing is to take the first step. You’ll get to the finish line no matter which attitude you adopt.

Do the hard work.  This could be physical training or mental preparation. If you want to get to the finish line (and remember if you’re thinking big picture, you get to decide where or what this is). Whatever it is you want to do – practice doing that thing. If you want to walk 50km, get out walking; if you want to sing professionally, practice singing or if you want to lead a company, find a team or a project to manage.

Celebrate your successes. Try not to focus on how far there is to go, but remember to take stock of where you are right now and how you’ve travelled to get there. You can get a bit of a spring in your step when you celebrate the 30km done, rather than focusing on the 20km still to go. And pause if you need to and enjoy the view.

I’ve done many endurance events before and I know I can do them. I trust my amazing body to keep going. My challenge is to make it feel easier, although I don’t think it will ever feel easy and the best way to do this is to respect the distance but do it anyway.

If you know what you want to do, but can’t seem to make it happen – get in touch for a chat about how I can help you start doing your dreams.

I could never…be a freelancer

I love my job, but I just can’t get on with working for this person/in this company. Has anyone else thought this, but then immediately told themselves how lucky they are to have a job and how hard it would be to go freelance?

Meet Lizzie Davey, who has successfully made the leap and shared her experience with me.

How would you describe what you do?

In the most basic sense, I’m a freelance writer. But, more specifically, I create long-form content for marketing brands and tech companies that help them connect with their audience and convert more readers into buyers.

I also help brands put together engaging content strategies that help them reach their goals and get their brands out there.

Have you always done this? When/why did you make a change?

No! I started my freelance career as a travel writer, because I was living abroad and travel was my biggest love. I soon realised that the pay in that sector is pretty shoddy, and the writing became repetitive.

I have a background in marketing and I love reading up on current trends, so it made sense to make the switch. I made the change about a year and a half into my freelance career (I wish I’d done it sooner, though!).

Was there a particular trigger for changing your work/lifestyle?

Yes. My ex-boyfriend was an English teacher and we’d discussed living abroad so he could earn more money and I could get to see some fun places. He landed a job in Spain that started a month later, so I kinda had to get my stuff together pretty quickly.

I think if I hadn’t have had that complete cut from normal life, I wouldn’t have gone all in with freelancing.

How did you feel when you made the decision to go freelance?

Absolutely terrified! I was convinced that it wasn’t a viable way to make money and I thought I’d be struggling to earn enough each month to pay my bills. It was also pretty liberating though, and I was proud of myself for finally taking the plunge on something I’d wanted to do for a LONG time.

What are the highlights and lowlights of a freelance career?

The highlights are definitely working with some amazing brands and seeing their stories come to life. On a more personal, selfish level, the freedom I have to work with who I want, when I want, and do what I want is a huge high.

But it’s not all fun, fun, fun! There were months at the start of my career where I didn’t make enough money and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to make a consistent income. Now? There aren’t as many lows, but I do often wonder what’s next – like, whether I’ll still be doing the similar work for similar clients this time in ten years.

Do you have any advice or tips for someone considering a freelance career?

Yes! It’s totally possible if it’s something you really want, but it’s really not the right lifestyle for everyone.

You have to be incredibly persistent and cut yourself some slack when you think things aren’t moving quickly enough. It took me almost two years to find the balance in my business that I craved, and there were so many points along the way where I was ready to pack it all in and go back to full-time employment.

I think a sensible place to start is to plan everything meticulously. Where do you want to be next month? Next year? In the next five years? And be realistic, too. Freelancing isn’t an overnight thing. It takes time to create and build a business you’re happy with.

Is there one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Great question! There is absolutely tonnes of things I’d love to have known when I was younger.

Career-wise, I think I would have told myself that things will work out because they have to. Nobody knows what they’re doing most of the time, so just keep being curious, keep asking questions, and keep creating connections.

What new challenges/plans are in the pipeline?

I’m currently re-working my packages this summer to include more strategy-based offerings. I LOVE helping brands figure out the message they want to put out there and then putting that into action through really juicy content.

I’m also writing a new course for prospects who can’t afford my full services, but still want help creating an engaging content strategy.

As for Creative Freelancing Freedom (my course for freelancers), I’ll be closing that up soon and re-opening it two times a year for a more focused approach.

You can find out more about Lizzie and her work at

If you know what you want to do, but can’t seem to make it happen – get in touch for a chat about how I can help you start doing your dreams.


I turn the corner and see someone coming towards me. I try and act normal, but I can feel a big grin spreading across my face. I’m visiting Avignon for the first time and the end of the street I’m staying on narrows and looks like a dead end. The map says otherwise so I stroll casually along, following the need to explore. There’s a corner and then another one and a choice of left or right. I choose right. It’s enchanting. It’s beautiful. I feel like Alice in my own, created Wonderland. For the man walking towards me, it’s his usual route.


Rue des Bains

I talk about Adventure, not in the sense of grand expeditions, but in the sense of doing something new. And I love the feeling of doing something new. Trace back the origin of the word adventure and you find it means “what must happen”; “to arrive”. Perhaps it’s always waiting for us to show up and notice it?

Too often I forget, I get stuck in a routine, in the comfort of the same. It’s not bad, it’s fine but it’s not exciting and doesn’t necessarily fill me with joy. But making a change, daring to do something different – no matter how big or small – makes me feel like a prancing pony dancing on my toes.

I could sit at a different table in my regular café, walk or run the opposite way on my usual route, or just explore a totally new path. You can take recommendations on different music to listen to, books to read or films to watch.

Whatever it is, it’s enough to shake things up and notice a change. To remind me I have a choice, to arrive and find out what must happen.

Do you want more adventure in your life? Look out for details of my next adventure course here and sign up for my newsletter for details and offers on working with me.

If you’re already creating adventure in your life, share what you’re doing in the comments – I’d love to hear about it.

My current adventure is walking, running or cycling a total of 3000 miles in a calendar year. This would take me as far as sub-Saharan Africa, where my chosen charity, Cricket Without Boundaries, works with children to deliver health and social education alongside cricket development, which gives children the chance to play. If you would like to support me in supporting them, you can donate here.


Everything is temporary

It was more of a pop than a ping but it didn’t feel good. I realized that I had a sharp pain on the right side of my lower back. Should I move forwards or backwards; stand up or sit down? Lying on the floor seemed to be the most comfortable position, but this was not where I wanted to be.

I had almost a clear week in my diary and a plan of how I was going to fill it with lots of creativity and new ideas. I had an easy week on my running training schedule and this was going to be a week of self- care and indulgence.

Once I had established that this was more than an uncomfortable twinge, I settled down to enjoy the day on the floor. When I hadn’t had a miraculous recovery by the next morning I booked an appointment with an osteopath and started working on some limited stretches and mobility.

A week passed with some improvement and a couple of meetings that I didn’t want to miss.  I stocked up on painkillers and survived a traffic-filled journey. Perched on the edge of a seat, I think I got away with it. As I always try to maintain my sense of humour, when I caught up with a friend afterwards I couldn’t help but laugh at the predicament I’d found myself in the previous week: How I’d feared being stuck halfway down the stairs; my waddle-walk and my full on obsession with whether this position hurt more than that. I found myself sharing that I could barely remember what it felt like to not be in pain. As I was saying this, I knew I was over-egging my situation, but the thought still ran through my mind.

And now a week later still, after tentatively going for a cautious jog today, I can finally see the light and I’m reminded, once again, that everything is temporary. As per all the information on the Internet, my back pain will recover and in another week hence, I’m sure I won’t even be able to remember what it felt like.

When we’ve made grand life plans and something turns them upside down, it’s only temporary. We can adapt to the situation or sometimes we have to wait it out. We need to listen to our bodies – do we need to rest or move; sleep or get active? We need these temporary flips to punctuate the story of our lives – what might feel big at the time may not even make it to the final edit; what you’re least expecting may propel you to take the action for a new chapter.

Whichever way it goes, you sometimes have to sit (or lie flat on your back) with it and feel for the next step.

My training schedule is to help me run, walk or cycle 3000 miles in 2017 to support the good work of Cricket Without Boundaries. If you would like to encourage me in this challenge and donate to CWB you can do so here.

I could never…move abroad

“I’m moving to Madrid”


I remember reading this exchange a year or so ago and thinking “wow”. There was so much excitement and anticipation in those words.  I could tell this was a brave move that deserved celebration, even though I’d never met Marietta before.

When you’re busy in your day job, but are realising that it’s not the perfect job, you get another one, right? But if you know that’s not going to cut the mustard, how can you even start to think about it when your head and energy levels are focused on the routine, day to day?

For Marietta Sandilands, the answer was to take a break, do something she’d dreamt about doing but was waiting for the right time and move to sunny Spain. Now based in Madrid, Marietta is temporarily teaching English whilst she recharges and explores what she wants to do next.

We chatted about how you can’t wait for the right time and how big decisions don’t always mean forever decisions.


For help in figuring out how you can find space to start doing your dreams and creating the life story you want, get in touch.

I could never…create a life I LOVE

Four years after moving into my house, I finally found the perfect frame. I found it because I actually allowed myself the time to look for it. My first experience of working with Selina Barker led me to make some small aesthetic changes to my house. It had been on my list since I’d moved in. I had the idea, I had the materials but I’d never got round to actually doing it. This may seem a frivolous anecdote and in some ways, that’s the point. The small things can have a massive effect. By finally giving myself permission to do something I’d wanted to do (and scheduling time to do it) the floodgates began to open for bigger, and slightly more significant, changes.

Selina Barker is the original Life Design coach and a co-founder of Project Love. In this conversation we cover topics including the journey to freedom and what it feels like at first, the importance of learning and growing, how we can benefit from collaborating and why we need to fill our lives with love.

It’s a long one, but a good one and worth diving in to understand how you can design a life you love.

Anything is possible. Explore your limits with me and start taking actions for some extra oomph in your life. Start here for details and get in touch.

Ask questions

What’s going through your mind right now? If you’ve been randomly browsing the internet looking for something, anything, then Welcome. (If you’re deliberately here, then welcome too).  I expect you’ve been looking for ideas for something to do. Something that feels right, that answers the question, is this it? You have a quiet voice telling you that you want to do it and a louder voice telling you that you could never do it.  So you carry on reading  and dismissing ideas until you come to the next one.

But what if you give some power to that quiet voice? The one that says I’d like to try, I could just give it a go.

Ask questions, gather the evidence to convince yourself and anyone else who’s bothered. Ask why you’re/they’re bothered – do they want you stay exactly the same person, because if you can do it there’s no excuses for them not to do their thing and step out of their comfort zone too.

Ask yourself why you want to do it, and by the way, just for fun is OK.

Ask how to do it, ask someone who’s done it before, ask someone else who wants to do it, ask the internet (but I think real people are better).  Refine your ideas, be clear on what you want to do.

Ask questions.  If you do this, your idea becomes real.  It gets closer to happening and you can start to say you’re doing not dreaming.

If this sounds like you or anyone you know, struggling with where to start – too many choices and an overwhelm of possibilities, get in touch.  I can help you to simplify your options and get you started.