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The Feminine Way to Enjoy Christmas…

The Feminine Way to Enjoy Christmas, Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stChristmas is one of my favourite times of the year.

The lights are sparkling, the tree is up…it can be truly magical.

As feminine women it can be a great time of year…we can indulge the playful, childlike side of the feminine, we can connect with people who we maybe don’t see as often throughout the year and enjoy feeling inspired by the festive season.

I love to indulge my creative feminine side at this time of year…whether it’s being creative with Christmas gift ideas or having fun in the kitchen.

But the challenge these days is that Christmas isn’t all fun and games.

In fact, Christmas can often be very very stressful.

The Christmas stress-fest!

We’ve all seen it, we’ve all probably done it…

We’ve let the pressure of a ‘perfect’ Christmas take over our lives, and have gone spiralling down into stress-central in the run up to Christmas…so much so that by the time you get to the actual day you’re run down, exhausted and just want it to be over.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Is it possible to have a Feminine Christmas?

We often do Christmas in this stressed manner, because we don’t know another way of doing it…and because everyone around us is doing the same thing, we assume it’s ‘normal’.

But there is another way….we’re just not used to seeing it.

So today I want to share with you some ideas and suggestions for a more Feminine way to enjoy the Festive season, that could completely change your experience of Christmas, if you’re willing to have a play with it…

If you are already a Feminine 1st Family Member of Bronze Level or above, click here to see the full video

So how can you enjoy Christmas in a feminine way?

I would love to share more with you about this and so many incredible topics, and so I’d like to invite you today to join the Feminine 1st Family as a Bronze Member or to become a Free Member to enjoy over 80 Free Videos.

What does Bronze Membership Give Me? Well in addition to all of the features of our Free Membership (including the “First Steps to Femininity” MP3 and over 80 free videos), you will also get access to all future premium Feminine 1st videos for the duration of your membership. You will also have the opportunity to submit requests for topics to be covered or questions to be answered in these weekly videos.

So click here to find out what else do we need to know about how to enjoy Christmas in a feminine way!

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

FFF Ben Macnaughton

Today’s Fabulous Friday Fellow is Ben Macnaughton

FFF Ben MacnaughtonI’ve often wondered how military families do it.

How do they live with the constant distance between them and the fear that any day they may receive bad news?

I don’t know if I would be strong enough to do it…it was bad enough having friends serving in war zones, let alone a member of your family.

So when I heard today’s story it touched my heart in a way I can’t possibly describe.

10 year old Ben Macnaughton’s dad, a Squadron Leader in the RAF has visited a war zone every year of Ben’s life and is currently serving as the Brigade Air Liaison Officer, with 12 Mechanised Brigade, Bulford, Wiltshire.

Since 2003 Ben has lived in the shadow of war and has spent approximately 50% of his life separated from his father due to his father’s military commitment. Sqn Ldr Macnaughton throughout Ben’s life has deployed continuously to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other war zones

So how has Ben dealt with this?

Unbeknownst to his parents, he wrote a song in his music lessons with 80s music producer, Anthony Clark called Messed Up World asking the world to give peace a chance.

Believe me when I say it’s a song that pulls on the old heartstrings…

When asked why he wrote the lyrics to the song, he said. “I want the fighting to stop so that children don’t need to be away from their parents anymore. I don’t think children should be away from their parents.”

“Did you write it because daddy goes away so much?”

“Yes.” He said.

Ben has never been to stage school so it’s very homemade and he is keeping it real. However, he has lived his whole life in the shadow of war so he wanted to raise money for other children in the same position as him.  So the song has been released in aid of SSAFA

SSAFA provides lifelong support for our forces and their families. It is a charity that does whatever it takes to get things done. They provide practical support and assistance to servicemen and women, veterans, and the families of both, every single day of the year.

You just need to read the lyrics to understand why this 10 year old wants peace:
“It’s a messed up world
But I won’t let it get me down
As long as I can hold my ground
I will be safe and sound

Fighting everywhere
There is no more peace in the air
Bodies lying everywhere
I am really scared
Everything is grey and black
Smoke is coming out of my hat
A glimpse of light comes from the sky
And everything is once again fine
People are alive and singing

The world can be so lovely yes it can
We should all be happy and never sad
If we could stop the fighting and end the war
We could all be happy for ever more
Forever more”

So if you would like to support Ben on his mission to spread the word of peace and support the SSAFA in the process then you can purchase the song here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/messed-up-world-single/id766580199

I hope his message spreads far and wide this Christmas…

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Janell Burley Hofmann

Fabulous Friday Female Janell Burley HofmannThis week’s Fabulous Friday Female is Janell Burley Hofmann.

Janell is a writer and community activist. She leads empowerment programs for youth and families on Cape Cod and is a modern day abolitionist with the Made By Survivors Network. She is a lover of life and enjoys the wild ride with her husband and five children ages 12, 9, 7, 5, and 4.

But these are not the reasons that Janell is today’s Fabulous Friday Female.

No, today I’m featuring Janell because of a contract she wrote to her 13-year old son on giving him an iPhone 5 as his Christmas present.

I have the greatest respect for any parent these days.  Trying to guide and steer a young person through life with the myriad of challenges that the modern world presents must be tough.

For example I heard a story being shared a few months back about a couple who were worried about their teenage daughter.  They were finding empty clear plastic bags in her bathroom an the first thing that came to their mind was drug use.  When they confronted her about it, the reality was stranger than they could have imagined.  The clear plastic bag was to put her iPhone in while in the shower so that she didn’t miss anything on facebook or text during her morning routine while getting ready for school.

This story shocked me…and made me realise just how addicted to technology our society is becoming.

…so when I saw Janell’s contract being shared around facebook, I thought it was brilliant – and something a lot of adults could take something from.

Below is the letter that Gregory received with his iPhone on Christmas morning:

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?

2. I will always know the password.

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad.” Not ever.

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person — preferably me or your father.

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO (fear of missing out).

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.

xoxoxo,
Mom

This letter has got a LOT of attention over the past month and a half, with Gregory and Janell even appearing on Good Morning America:

So today I would like you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating the amusing and tongue-in-cheek approach that Janell has taken in guiding her son to be responsible and mindful as he grows up into adulthood. I love the approach and I love the sentiments…and I believe that a lot of us could gain a lot from taking on one or two of her suggestions!

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
  • Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

 

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Gracie McNulty

Gracie McNulty Christmas KindnessAlthough Christmas now seems like a distant memory, I couldn’t let the festive season pass without stopping to acknowledge one very special little girl – Gracie McNulty.

You see, in August last year, Gracie’s Dad Craig died suddenly after an accident at work, leaving Gracie and her three siblings without a father.  So this was her first Christmas without him.

But rather than focusing on the sadness of losing her Dad, Gracie decided instead to focus on ensuring that his last wish was carried out with love and enthusiasm.

You see Craig, who had volunteed regularly with charities over the years, had said that he wanted to open the family cafe in order to feed the homeless on Christmas day.

So with her father gone, Gracie was determined to make sure that this is exactly what happened.

Watch this short video to see her act of kindness in her Dad’s memory:

Gracie said: ‘It’s been the best Christmas ever. I was just at school feeling sad about my dad so decided I wanted to do something to make him proud and this felt like the perfect thing. I haven’t asked my mum yet but I want to do this every year.’

So today I would like you to join me in celebrating this little girl’s selfless act of kindness in her Dad’s memory…turning her sadness into kindness for others.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
  • Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women who inspire YOU.

Merry Christmas…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

10 ways to quickly move from your head to your heart…

Woman Gift From Your Head to Your HeartDo you know how to get from your head to your heart?

Women these days tend to spend a lot of time in their heads.

We have so much to do and we are trying to wear so many different hats that we end up go to our heads to try and make sense of it all and keep a handle on things, but there’s so much going on that we tend to stay there.

It’s important to be conscious of the reason we end up in our heads.

We don’t arrive there naturally; it’s the place we end up when we are coming from a place of fear, insecurity, lack or stress.

Now, call me crazy but in my experience the holiday season can often bring with it a fair share of stress.

Between buying and wrapping Christmas presents, writing cards, shopping for food, cooking more Turkey than is humanly possible to eat (unless you’re a veggie like me…in which case replace Turkey with roast potatoes), visiting family and friends, Christmas parties, the pressure of what to do New Year’s Eve…the list goes on.

In fact, here in the UK 59% of women suffer high stress levels in the week before Christmas…which is also the worst week for sleep deprivation.

Why do you need to know how to move from your head to your heart?

Generally speaking, under stress the feminine moves from heart to head and the masculine moves from heart to the genital area…which is why we respond so differently to stressful situations…the key to finding the solutions is often to figure out how to come back to the heart.

There is a place for the head, we need both head and heart to get by in life, but when the head gets into overwhelm it stops being effective and ends up caught in unproductive and often self-destructive loops that get you nowhere and drive you crazy.

But when you get into the heart the noise gets quieter, the merry-go-round stops spinning and you get to just feel.

Often when we feel into a situation we get connected back to our intuition, which will guide us in the right direction compared with our overwhelmed minds.

So today my Christmas gift to you is ten ways to quickly move from your head to your heart:

  1. Breathe – When we get stressed and into head space, we often find that our breathing gets shallower and faster. As our stress goes up, our heart race increases and our breathing quickens. So stopping and taking 10 deep diaphragmatic breaths will give you a moment to put the head on pause and move into the body in the direction of the heart.
  2. Music – We all know that music is very emotionally charged…put on the right song and you can find yourself ready to take on the world, totally chilled out or close to tears. So listen to a song that you have a strong positive emotional connection to for a instant drop from your head to your heart. A piece that reminds you of a special time, a special place, a special person…anything that puts a smile on your face and makes you want to sing is usually a good option!
  3. Gratitude – We all know that you cannot simultaneously experience gratitude and fear or gratitude and stress…so by focusing on what we’re grateful for will be able to drop out of our stress (and in turn the head space), and back into our heart space.
  4. Movement – In order to get out of your head and into your heart, one of the best routes is via your body, so any way to physically feel your body moving whether through dancing, yoga or another form of movement will definitely help.
  5. Focus and intention – Taking the conscious choice to move your focus from what is causing you stress to what will make you feel more connected to your heart, and setting an intention to maintain that connection sounds simple and yet can pave the way for your subconscious to follow.
  6. Be present to the moment – Often when we’re in our heads, we’re focusing on one of two things; the past or the future. We’re worrying about what has happened, or what is going to (or not going to). Simply focusing on the present moment, what’s happening in the here and now, in as much detail as possible is one of the fastest routes from your head to your heart.
  7. Get in touch with your senses – When you’re focusing on the present moment, be sure to do so with all of your senses…what can you see, what can you hear, what can you smell, taste and feel? When you start to use all of your senses more, the sensations you are experiencing will be enhanced and enriched…getting you more into your body which will pave the way from your head to your heart.
  8. Mentally hang up on the voice in your head – Quite often when you want to move from your head to your heart there is a little voice in your mind that keeps drawing you back again. It’s usually the voice of fear, or of insecurity, and can be your own worst enemy. One of the simplest ways to deal with this voice is to imagine that it’s on the other end of a phone. Mentally see yourself with the phone in your hand, simply saying “No thanks, I’m not interested”…and then hanging the phone up.
  9. Meditation – There’s not a lot to keep you in your head when all is quiet and peaceful there, so to get from your head to your heart a great starting place is to quieten the mind. Taking a small amount of time each day (it can be only 5 minutes to start with) to close your eyes, focus on nothing but your breath, and whenever a thought comes up allow it to just drift away can help you begin the shift.
  10. Love unconditionally – To move from your head to your heart, the quickest and simplest way is to focus on being loving. Not to get anything in return, or because you should…just because you can. …and the best place to start with this? Yourself. Remember that you are enough and love yourself just the way you are. It’s the expressway from your head to your heart. The more you can learn to come from this loving place with everyone…your intimate partner, your friends, family, colleagues, and most importantly, yourself, the less time you’ll spend in your head…and the more you’ll spend in your heart.

To be honest, anything that really brings you back to your feminine will bring you out of your head and into your heart as that’s where the feminine naturally lives.

So the question is ‘what makes YOU feel more feminine’…because if you’re FEELING feminine…you’re already in your heart.

And this is my Christmas gift to you…the ability to quickly and effortlessly move from your head to your heart, whenever you wish to.

Merry Christmas….remember to stay fabulous when moving from your head to your heart!

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is the woman whose husband hated Christmas

Woman giving Christmas giftWith the Christmas season being upon us, it seemed only right this week to have a festive themed Fabulous Friday Female.

But this week, I don’t even know her name.

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female comes from an article that was featured in an article from Women’s Day in 1982.

So who is our Christmas Fabulous Friday Female?

She is a woman, just like you and me…but when I read her story about her husband and Christmas, I felt moved to share it with you here:

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it–overspending… the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids – and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition–one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

I hope this story inspires you this Christmas as much as it did me

..and today I would like to ask you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating this Fabulous Friday Female for reminding me of the true meaning of Christmas…and for helping me to inspire others this Christmas, like you.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
  • Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women who inspire YOU.

Merry Christmas…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Thursday Thought Quote: This Christmas Remember to Share Your Sparkle

This week’s Thursday Thought:

This Christmas Remember to Share Your Sparkle

A Christmas gift that you can give yourself…

Claire Brummell, Feminine 1st, Christmas GiftDo you remember to give yourself a Christmas gift?

This year can be a bit crazy and hectic….remembering every Christmas gift that you need to buy, the cards that need to be written, all the wrapping that needs to be done….it can be a bit of a mission!

Would you like a little extra Christmas gift?

As well as sharing with you how grateful I am for all of your help and support this year I wanted to give you a little extra Christmas gift.  This one is a bit special though, you can’t fit it in a box, or put a bow around it….but it’s probably the most important gift you’ll get this year.

What kind of Christmas gift is that?

So watch the video now to find out more about this very special Christmas gift….from me to you…

Remember to share this Christmas gift with others…

So I really encourage you to give yourself this Christmas gift and to share it with others too …if you’re anything like me you probably know a dozen women who could all do with a reminder about this Christmas gift…so please take the time to share this video with them too.

As we all know, femininity is about flow….and that flow requires both giving and receiving…so remember that this Christmas season, as you give yourself this Christmas gift.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

2011

2011 – Fabulous or a Flop?

2011So Christmas day has been and gone, and New Year’s is beckoning.

At this time of the year I like to take a look back at the past year and appreciate everything that has passed.

Now, those of you who know me well know that there are two ways that I could look at the past year.

It would be very easy for me to look back and see a long list of challenges that I faced. For example, in (admittedly just over the space of a year) every single member of my close family has been in hospital for one reason or another. There have been five major surgeries and one as yet undiagnosed. I gave up my home for most of the year to look after family. I suffered a significant injury in an accident which temporarily put my marathon training on hold.

2011 has not been without it’s challenges…that’s for sure.

On the other hand, I could look at 2011 and see the following list of wonderful events:

  • I started training for a marathon…something I never thought I would do.
  • I became a firewalking and extreme events instructor
  • I overcame my fear of needles and gave blood for the first time
  • I travelled to Australia and made some incredible friends
  • I celebrated my best friend getting married
  • I travelled to Italy to work an amazing event with some event better people
  • I launched my own company which connects me with fabulous women all over the world.

Looking at those two descriptions you wouldn’t have thought that they were the same year!!

What’s even more interesting though, is that I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and if I look at the ‘challenges’ that I’ve faced this year there is a little more to the story.

The timing of the hospital visits of each of the members of my family couldn’t have been better.  I was in a position each and every time to be able to help and support them because of the circumstances I was in personally.

Moving house to look after family reduced the worry-factor of everyone involved drastically and saved me driving across the country any time I had a spare minute to see how they were or if they needed any help.

The injury I suffered drastically changed my life.  It gave me the wake up call I needed to change the direction I was going in and was a significant moment towards me starting my own company.

So even the challenges were actually working in my favour.  We all know that the attitude of gratitude is important, so being able to look back on the past year in this way is really powerful.

So I would like to suggest an exercise for you to do as part of your own end of year review:

  1. Write two lists of all of the events that you can remember which have taken place over the past year, one positive and one looking at the challenges you’ve experienced.
  2. Look at the positive list and for each of the items on the list take a moment to feel gratitude for them, one at a time.  Close your eyes and relive the memory, remember how you felt, what you said, what you heard..every part of it.
  3. Look at the challenges list and for each to the items on the list see if you can find something positive about what happened.  It could be when it happened, how it happened, something that happened as a result of it, someone you met because of it…anything.  See if you can find something positive with each of the things you’ve written down.
  4. Now take a moment to feel grateful for each of the positive things for the items on your ‘challenges’ list.

I’ve found that the new Facebook “Timeline” was a great help in reminding myself of all of the things that have happened this year (you can find out all about it here: https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline) – and it was lovely going back and seeing all of the photos, videos and statuses of 2011!

So I invite you to do your own review of 2011…and to find all the things that were working for you even when everything seemed negative or bleak…as well as celebrating and reliving all of the great times you’ve had too.

…and here’s to 2012 being even better!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Last Christmas?

Couple Hug Last ChristmasI love Christmas time.

It’s all about fun, family, friends…a season of magic to warm up the chill of winter outside. It’s a chance to be a big kid (not that I need any excuse!) and indulge in all the things that we spend the rest of the year saying “oh I shouldn’t…” to.

It’s also the time of year where you get to hear from people that you haven’t heard from in the last 12 months, and often haven’t seen in much longer.

When the Christmas cards started appearing a few weeks ago, it was great hearing all the little bits of news that get included with the greetings inside.

One card however, had some news that we weren’t expecting.

News that came as quite a shock.

A family friend wrote and told us that her son lost his battle with colon cancer in November.

He was 30.

Now…this might sound like a bit of a depressing topic to be sharing in an inspiring newsletter just before Christmas…but bear with me…there is a string of festive fairy lights at the end of the tunnel, I promise.

I would like to say that Steven is the first person who I have known who has parted this life early. Unfortunately I can’t.

I lost a dear friend from university to cancer in her early twenties, one of my parents’ closest friends lost his wife to a sudden brain haemorrhage, my sister lost a friend from school to cancer, and a few years back a friend and shining light in the salsa dancing community was taken from us in a car accident at the age of 24.

I have been reflecting on this a lot in the last couple of days…and it occurred to me that none of the people I have mentioned here would have had any clue that their last Christmas, was their last Christmas.

If they had known, what would they have done differently? If they had the chance to have another ‘last Christmas’ what would they do to make it the most magical of all?

Now, I hope for myself and each and every one of you that we will all live long and happy lives into old age, spending many Christmases to come filled with fun and laughter, surrounded by friends and family all driving us crazy and creating more special memories together.

But if this were your last Christmas, what would YOU do to make it the most magical? What would you make sure you said to the people you love? How would you enjoy every single moment?

What are the insignificant niggles that you would let go because they just don’t matter? What are the moments that you would take a mental photograph of? How would you make every minute with the people you care about most matter? What could you do to make it the best Christmas you and your family and friends have ever had?

As some of you know, when I was doing my marathon training earlier this year (temporarily on pause due to injury and business launches…it will be recommencing in the new year!) I had a revelation which totally changed the experience of running for me.

I realised that there must be hundreds of thousands of people in the world who would love to be able to experience what I was doing on my morning run, but couldn’t (for whatever reason). So I began running for them.

Each session was dedicated to someone else who couldn’t run for themselves…and when I ran, I ran the way I imagined that they would if they had the opportunity to run just once. It was a total game changer for me. Something which once felt like a chore became an incredible experience filled with gratitude and fun.

Now I know, that every single one of those people who didn’t realise that they were experiencing their last Christmas would LOVE the opportunity to have just one last festive season with their closest family and friends.

I’m sure that every single one of us knows someone who didn’t know they were having their last Christmas with someone special, whether they are the person who is still here, or the one who left before they expected to.

So how about you celebrate this Christmas in their spirit? Enjoy every moment of this Christmas season the way that they would if they had the chance to do it again. To soak up every second and make memories which you will all cherish.

…and why not celebrate every special occasion…even every day like it were our last? We would focus on the best of each moment, and instantly dismiss any minor frustrations which don’t mean anything when you look at the big picture. What memories we would create!

I don’t know about you…but if my lifetime is going to be the long and happy one that I fully intend for it to be, then I want it to be filled with THOSE kinds of memories. 😀

How about you?

I wish every single one of you a Christmas celebrated with the people who you love as if it were the last you were going to get. One filled with happiness, laughter and love.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x