Beating your PB in life


Pounding along, heart fit to burst, legs screaming and a voice leaping out of my throat with the immortal words “I can’t”. But I could. 500 metres to go and one last surge as I push to the finish. It’s 9am on a freezing cold Saturday morning and I’m hauling my spent carcass up the channel for finished runners, to give in my number and get my time. I’ve knocked 10 seconds off my personal best. Now there were hundreds of runners in front of me and hundreds behind me but it wasn’t about them, or how my time compared to theirs. That was irrelevant. Some were twenty years my junior, some were professional athletes, some had legs like giraffes, some were in it only for the gentle shuffle and a chat. Each had their own agenda and parameter for what they wanted to get out of putting one foot in front of the other for five thousand meters.

I took up running a year ago. I didn’t want to go long distances; I found it boring, it took up too much time, and gave me injuries. What I set myself was the goal to run 5K as quickly as I could for my age and fitness. The more I did it, the fitter I became and the faster I got. It was a definitive goal and it’s a gratifying when in the rest of life it’s all so much more amorphous than setting yourself up to do something and being given actual numbers that prove you have improved. A month ago my PB was 29 minutes 22 seconds. Last week it was 28’ 22 and this week it was 28’13. Not particularly fast but better than before. That is a measurable progression. It’s satisfying to shave off those few extra seconds. Striving, training and achieving. There is a simple equation in that which shows numerical results.

But how do we translate that into real life with its shifting targets and challenges? What can we learn from the concept of a runner’s PB that is useful for everyday living? What can we teach our children about reaching for their own potential that is not about comparing or competing in a way that depletes their sense of self-worth?


Some people thrive on competition. Beating others gets their juices flowing and ups their game. But for the rest of us that cult of comparison and competition simply lowers our self-esteem, dampens our self-confidence and quells our spirit. When you compare yourself with someone else and find yourself lacking, you experience a sinking sense of defeat. Or, if you beat someone your chest puffs up in direct ratio to your swelling ego; a balloon to be popped next time someone better than you trundles along. School is a battleground for competition and the triumphant bask in glory while the runners up and the no hopers, trail in their wake; in the shadow of the exultant winners’ prizes and trophies… READ MORE in D.A.D magazine

Guidance through grief

Me & my friend

We all have to deal with grief in some shape or form and for kids this can be tough. How do we look after our kids and their grief? 

When I was eight my best friend died. He wasn’t just my best friend, he was my soul mate. How as a kid do you even begin to absorb the shock of such a loss? All I remember is my dad telling me to save a little corner of my heart just for my friend. I did that. It didn’t quell my pain, loss and tears but it gave me a harbour for my grief. My friend had physically left us but in that protected place in my heart our shared innocent love stayed alive. And when I look at the photo his mum recently sent me of the two of us together I can still feel him and his bright spirit. Simple words from my dad all those years ago helped me make my way through the trauma. He gave me a tool. It was a gift for life.  READ MORE

Thanks giving- not just for Thanksgiving

“Mind your P’s and Q’s”, Old Biddies would say to kids. It basically meant, say ‘please’ when you want something and ‘thank you’ when you get it. You didn’t feel it; you just said it. It got you by without a clip round the ear-hole. Now I’m getting on for an Old Biddy myself I’ve got a different handle on it. Gratitude isn’t just there to grease the wheel, it’s the actual wheel shaft itself. It stops us veering off into the gutter where stress, anxiety and depression lie ready to spread their muck in our minds. Learning thanks from a young age, not for getting the latest toy or trainers, but for just ‘being’ is the most powerful tool in the box.

Read More in UK’s leading Dad magazine

Be Free Liberty

Be Free- Liberty is something to be thankful for


Power of play

Rules, uniform, timetables… With the coming of autumn and a new school term the fluidity of summer is shoe-horned into submission. Plump fruit on the trees, longer shadows and dewy mornings hail the scourge of school runs and rigorous routines. But is the return of a structured day so bad? Pick up a prematurely fallen leaf and see how the minutiae of veins create a network of fibers that hold the leaf in its perfect shape. There is beauty and comfort to be found in nature’s skeletal structures; security in form. Somehow that back to school feeling is made easier by the familiarity of patterns we create across our week in order to manage the family’s varying commitments of work, school, social and extra-curricular activities. But for all the necessary glue that holds our worlds together, somewhere between the deck chair and the desk chair we, and certainly our kids, still need a regular injection of what we wallowed in through summer – the unregulated spontaneity of unstructured play.

Read the rest HERE

Dandelion walk


The Bad Stuff

What should we tell our kids?

Or even ourselves for that matter, about the Bad Stuff?

One after the other we face terrorist atrocities and tragic loss of life spat at us from a cynical centrifugal force of hatred and violence that liquidizes our normal everyday existence into tumultuous upheaval and emotional fallout. What is this world that we bring our kids into? How do we keep them safe, how do we explain to their enquiring minds that bad things can happen and still try to keep them innocent and out of harm’s way? The hard facts of inhumane acts jangle in their faces, on their screens and on the streets. How can we shield them but not lie to them? How do we give them a way forward?

[READ MORE] in my article in this month’s DAD magazine 

Shark infested waters

For Lou’s daily inspirations follow on twitter @createlab & instagram brave_newgirl or here for more on her CREATIVE WORK

No More Me Me Me

I am always banging on to my clients about learning to love themselves first. I show them how and their self-esteem sky rockets. What you don’t do when you learn to love yourself first is don the bitter cloak of Narcissistic self obsession. When clients first tip toe onto the ice of self-love they are terrified of appearing Narcissistic. Indeed as children we are told not to boast, not to push ourselves forward ahead of others, not to sing our own praises or stand centre stage. Loving yourself first is not about showing off or navel gazing or self-aggrandising. It’s about listening to your needs, protecting yourself with healthy boundaries, not attacking yourself with barbed words, giving yourself plenty of quiet pat on the backs for jobs well done, giving yourself space when you need it and not working yourself into an early grave. It’s about feeding yourself with food that is good for you and being in tune with your body through exercise, rest, breathing and meditation.


To further allay fears of slipping down the slope into Narcissism you need to know what to avoid doing when you are setting out on Project Love You. Non-Narcissism is to cultivate empathy over solipsism (the quality of being self-centred or selfish). Self-compassion over self-absorption. Confidence over inflated Ego. Self-perception over blaming others. It’s about turning “It’s all about Me” into “It’s all about Loving Me first so that I can love you and you can love me in a symbiotic and healthy, balanced way”.

Self-reflection can only happen when the Narcisstic self has its ear to the ground. Only then will it hear and acknowledge the difference between LOVE ME ME ME and I Love Me and therefore I can love Others. The Narcissist cannot take criticism. Getting offended over the slightest imagined whiff of attack in work or relationships is pandering to an Ego that’s grown too big for its boots. Get over yourself by listening carefully, and taking on the fact that there is always room for growth. The Narcissist will quieten and eventually step aside to allow the true you to blossom and bloom.

Here comes Spring! And a Spring Offer of 10% discount on my 4 session coaching package as long as the whole programme is taken up by May 1st. Brighten up your Spring by learning to stress less & love yourself more.

My Solo Soho Show of abstract paintings is on at The Farm Post-Production HQ, William Building, 8 Marshall st, London W1, from 9th March to 30th April

If you don’t have wall space for original paintings but love art you can see my new clothing collection printed with designs from my paintings at SHOP VIDA

Or just fancy a daily inspirational boost? Follow me on Twitter @createlab  or Instagram brave_newgirl

Fear Less in Love

Motivational Monthly

When coaching clients come to me saying it is the Love area of their life that they want fixing, I tell them that I’m not a love coach. I’m not a dating agent. I’m not qualified to fire from Cupid’s Bow. And I don’t have a magic wand. What I can do is help them learn to love themselves and then all else will follow.

Believe in yourself

Illustration by Lou Hamilton



If you don’t love yourself first, how can you expect anyone else to? When you stop telling yourself you’re not good enough, you will become less fearful in Love. When you stop listening to your inner bully, when you create a healthy lifestyle both physically, mentally and mindfully, when you heal old wounds, when you treat yourself like you would your best friend, when you enforce strong boundaries to protect yourself from others overstepping the mark, you will Fear less in Love.




You can’t do anything about anyone else. You can’t make them love you, you can’t change them into a more lovable person, you can’t fix their demons, you can’t stop them hurting you, or disappointing you or walking away from you. You can’t prevent some disaster or Act of God befalling the love of your life. You can just focus on yourself, change yourself, learn to meet your own needs and expectations. You can start to live in the moment, appreciate the good things you do have, enjoy your own company, live by your own values, and make a positive difference in the lives of those around you.




It’s like the saying ‘smile and the world smiles with you’; when you are living the life that makes you happy, you open the door to all those who share your values, who respect your boundaries, who complement your contribution, who are equal to you and love you for who you are because you have found a way to be all that you can be.





You will have no time for losers and layabouts, manipulators and cheaters, bullies and paranoids. Those people will drift from your life because you give them no space to create havoc around you. You will not attract the Bad ‘Uns because they will recognize that you are wholesome, with no chinks for them to jam open and fill with their toxic waste.


You won’t be perfect when you have done the work on yourself, but you will be self-accepting and confident. Your self-esteem will be high and your ego will be quiet. You will fear less and be more. You will give yourself every chance for happiness and you will be capable of taking the rough times with equanimity and the ability to learn from whatever comes your way. When you honestly love yourself, you will be lovable and you will be loving. This is the truest and strongest Love Triangle that you can build at the very core of your being. When love is lost through death or desertion your Love Triangle will be bruised but it will not buckle. When you truly, deeply, madly own your internal love, you will survive and thrive and you will rise again.




Learn to love yourself with a Life Coach. Email to arrange a free consultation to find out more






Please come to the Private View of my Solo Show “Freeze-Frame”. Large abstract landscape paintings, they capture a moment in time, a moment to pause and reflect, a moment for calm and contemplation. Thursday 9th March 6.30-8.30pm at The Farm Post-Production HQ. RSVP for details & to go on the Guest List.

10% of the painting sales profit to go to Amnesty International who my partner Paul Lang is running for in the London Marathon 2017. If you would like to sponsor him in aid of global Human Rights please go to his Just Giving site.

Illustrations by Lou Hamilton who has drawn the inspirational book Brave New Girl- How to Be Fearless published by Orion Spring. Available in major bookstores and online.