My to don’t list, and meditation

My to don’t list, and meditation

My to don’t list, and meditation

Exactly one year ago Boris Johnson told me I’d have to “shield” for twelve weeks, and at the time we wondered how on earth we’d cope with being locked down for such a long time.

Of course none of us knew what was in store and now twelve weeks has evolved into twelve months and I’m still shielding, despite having had my first jab. It looks, for the umpteenth time, as if the light actually is at the end of the tunnel thanks to the vaccines, but that infernal tunnel keeps getting longer.

When this all began a year ago I could see I’d be stuck at home for a while so I came up with a typical Life Coach response – I made a “to-do list”, i.e. a list of goals I wanted to achieve during lockdown. But now I’ve written and published the novel (and even sold a few copies), I’ve lost the two and a half stone I wanted to lose and I’ve made serious inroads into learning to play the piano, I’ve cleared the spare room, I’ve done loads of reading and watched many movies, and done lots of other things, and now I’m ready to re-emerge into the world. But is the world ready for me?

So now, faced with waiting two or three more months of splendid isolation, I’ve come up with a new idea – a “to-don’t list”.

This means I give myself total permission to do absolutely nothing whenever I feel like it, without self-recrimination, so I can get a great sense of achievement for having achieved nothing whatsoever. It sounds ridiculously easy, but when you’ve been brought up with a strong work ethic it does take some getting used to. After a lifetime of working by backside off, I am taking this last opportunity to rest and recuperate before life starts up again.

Of course I still practise the piano because that’s very much work in progress, but it has now become more of a leisure activity than a goal, and I’m still watching my weight because I don’t want to return to being overweight, but no longer so obsessively.

But now I also enjoy taking our dog for an aimless wander around the meadow and then falling asleep in front of the telly.

Of course this is just another coping mechanism to keep myself sane when what I really want is to socialise again with friends and family, and this lifestyle can only be sustained for a while. But if you want something more tangible, I’ve also started an online meditation group via Zoom, which anyone can join from anywhere in the world.

We get together for a bit of a chinwag first, then meditate in silence for 25 minutes. Then those of us who wish to stay have another chat for as long as we like. We call it Zoomeditation and we meet on Wednesday mornings at 10.00 am.

If you’d like to join in just e-mail me at and I’ll add you to the list so every week you’ll receive an invitation/ reminder with the Zoom link, so you can click and join whenever you fancy it.

It’s free and no experience is necessary. It’s a great opportunity to look inside and reconnect with yourself, and with other likeminded people too. I do hope you’ll give it a try.

The Importance of Acceptance for Children

The Importance of Acceptance for Children

Maybe his nose reminds you of a grumpy old uncle, she’s three and not speaking fluently, he’s four and not ready for entrance exams yet.

Your life isn’t the same, last month’s mag lies there unread. How can you focus on your career with not enough sleep? Your relationship has changed so much, is this the life you wanted?

But you magnanimously act the caring mum, how will anyone know the thoughts inside you?

How will a baby be able know what is or isn’t there?

How much of our communication is non-verbal?

Our body language says what you cannot.

That dismissive glance, the shake of the head, tight fist, scowl, children understand tone of voice more than spoken words.

The effects of rejection, however slight, add up.

We all know people who have left home and not returned, clever children lost out there, children whose universe is inside their laptop.

No parent is perfect, how do we remember to cuddle and compliment when they are

wet & whinging, cross & crying?

Parents often think telling their child what you don’t like will help him in the future.

The message of criticising, moralising & commanding is the message of unacceptance.

It’s a myth that all parents have a natural love for their children.

So, if you’re beating yourself up with guilt how do you start to improve the bond?

Start by accepting yourself; not liking yourself leads to projection of those beliefs.

Respecting and accepting yourself teaches others how to treat you.

Accept how your child is, nothing more and nothing less.

When your child feels accepted as he is, he feels free to change and be more of him/herself.

If you’re struggling to accept comparisons, their demands, expectations simply tell them how you feel. Use an it-statement “I’m too tired, I can’t play right now”, rather than  
“You’re a pest” “I don’t care” “Come here now and stop wriggling”.

If genuine love does not always emanate forth then build up to it, try smiling, humour, warm expressions, be real.  Show respect and give attention instead of playing the role.
Remember, wanting children to be the same as you or someone else equals non-acceptance.
So, recognise reality and don’t attempt to change. Accept it is as it is, no more and no less, stop caring what the world or your neighbours think, accepting your child as he/she is allows the good to come out.

Remember, criticism is seen as a threat even if it’s meant to be helpful.
If we criticise we motivate the emotions of fear, anxiety, self-contempt.
These emotions don’t help us feel better or build confidence; they help us feel bad.
So when next they’re crying and complaining stop the automatic parent, remember cuddles and compliments are needed.

Many of us haven’t yet resolved our own traumas.
Our internal reflections do affect our external reactions. 
Building self-love will improve loving child-rearing.

If you are struggling please get in touch to see how I can help.

Email or call 07769 218281

Mother working from home with kids. Quarantine.
Bereavement Counselling & Support

Bereavement Counselling & Support


If you or someone you know has a family member or friend who is facing bereavement or has lost someone this year, our helpline and counselling service can help you deal with loss at this difficult time.

A collaboration between Community Barnet and Mind in Barnet, this service is open to anyone who lives, works or studies across the London Borough of Barnet and who has been bereaved in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic may affect the way you grieve and make an already difficult situation feel harder. If you are finding it hard to cope with your emotions and the practical things you have to do. We are here to listen and help.

Our helpline is the first point of contact, with our dedicated staff listening carefully to each call to determine what level of support you might need or can be directed towards.

We provide a listening ear, advice and signposting to local & national services. This includes guidance with arranging death certificates, funeral services, and financial support. After your call with us, you will be sent an information and signposting advice pack to read over in your own time. 

If you need additional, more regular emotional support, we aim to offer you up to 4 sessions of bereavement counselling. If it has been identified that further support is required, we can offer you a further 8 free sessions with one of our fully trained counsellors.

Please help us share the word of this service, so we can help guide those recently bereaved through this difficult time

You can reach the service online or via 020 8016 0016 or email us at


Never fear to be extraordinary

Never fear to be extraordinary

It might seem counter intuitive, but when you think about it, achieving highly ambitious, truly meaningful goals that many perceive to be unrealistic or unreasonable is actually easier that achieving goals that don’t really set your heart on fire.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly you will have a lot less competition because the vast majority of people aim for mediocrity or compromise or the conventional, and secondly you will feel far more motivated and adrenalin fuelled if your goal fires up your imagination, so much so that you will keep going and devote everything you can to overcoming whatever hurdles you encounter.

Every goal has obstacles, and you will only continue to do whatever it takes until you get where you want to go if what you are trying to achieve means everything to you.

On the other hand, if your goal is good but not great it won’t be inspiring and you may well give up, especially when you run up against the majority who put a lot of energy into achieving the conventional.

I am not talking about some sort of ego aggrandising goal. It has to be totally meaningful to you, otherwise what’s the point? How can you put your heart and soul into something unless it means everything to you?

Most people do not believe they are put on this earth to do great things. But if you are of average or above average intelligence and ability, why should you not aspire to be the next Nelson Mandela, or William Shakespeare, or Leonardo Da Vinci, or Isambard Kingdom Brunel?

The key is to find out what you really love doing, what comes naturally to you that others find difficult, what is your true passion, and develop the required skill, knowledge and experience to the utmost. You might need to get a training, or find the best teacher, guru or coach, whatever. You may even decide to go back to education.

So how do you know when you’ve found your passion?

Listen to your intuition, to the still small voice of your heart, for it will always guide you on your true path in life. Instead of doing what you think would be a good idea or a safe option, find the courage to allow yourself to be driven by your inner voice, which always knows what’s best for you.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s impossible to live your dream. Living your dream is a perfectly realistic thing to aspire to. Someone had a dream once that it would be possible for a human to walk on the moon. Most people dismissed it as idle fantasy. But a dream or vision is the first step to amazing human endeavour. We should celebrate our dreamers and visionaries.

The late guru Osho once said, “be realistic, plan for a miracle.” Seems like very sound advice!

happy child playing at home
Understanding different types of care available for your loved one

Understanding different types of care available for your loved one

When looking for care for your loved one, the terminology surrounding the different types of care available can sometimes be confusing. It is important when considering a care home to understand whether continuity of care is available as your loved one’s needs may increase over time.

Our homes, in Southgate and Winchmore Hill, offer continuity of care for our residents in a supportive, safe and caring environment. We are able to offer families comprehensive care including:

Residential care – Provides ‘home-style’, live-in accommodation, with 24 hour-a-day supervised staffing for older people, who may need extra help and support with their personal care. Residents can enjoy dining facilities, and our social programmes and activities.

Nursing care – Provides 24 hour care and support, as above, but with added nursing care and assistance for residents who require input from and supervision by a registered nurse, who is in situ to devise and monitor care plans, provide and administer treatment and carry out timely medical interventions.

Dementia care – Depending on the particular needs of a resident they may be cared for within a residential placement or nursing placement.

Palliative care – End of life care is the care of residents whose condition no longer responds to treatment. We provide sensitive and compassionate care at this important time.

To find out more about our care homes and services please visit  or call 020 8344 2600.


Autumn Gardens, 73 Trent Gardens, Southgate, London N14 4QB

Anastasia Lodge, 10-14 Arundel Gardens, Winchmore Hill, London N21 3AE