Giving up on ourselves


How can we keep the fire burning?

Do you give up on yourself? Do you let the energy drain from your dreams? Do you let the light go out on your ideas? Do you get all fired up and excited about something, then feel your enthusiasm dwindle away? Do you struggle to finish what you start?

Maybe you don’t even realise it’s happening to you. Maybe you just talk yourself out of your dreams in a seemingly logical way.

It was a mediocre idea anyway. It’s been done before. It won’t make any money. I haven’t got the time. Who do I think I am? That person is doing the same thing so much better than me. There’s no space for another writer/painter/coach etc. It just wasn’t meant to be …

I realised last weekend, on a much deeper level than ever before, that I have a tendency – or even a compulsion – to give up on myself; to give up on my visions and dreams; to talk myself out of doing the things that my heart longs to do. I have a long list of things I’ve talked myself out of over the years, things that I’ve hidden away from, and it makes me feel very sad to remember them all.

I used to work in Brazil as a foreign correspondent for Reuters. I had so much opportunity to write fantastic, creative features in an incredibly diverse and colourful country. The Amazon was within arm’s reach. Stories were everywhere. All I needed was a good idea and the gumption to make it happen. I had many ideas but I didn’t follow them through. The light came on – I got all excited – and then the energy drained out of me. I powered down.


The answer is FEAR. I was scared. Scared to move out of my comfort zone. Scared my work wouldn’t be perfect. Scared of being judged, criticised and humiliated, and therefore of being hurt. I had been hurt before – at a much deeper level and when I was a lot younger – and I didn’t want to feel hurt again. Pain was to be avoided at all costs. It seemed a much better idea to hide – to hide behind the boring routine of writing about Brazilian interest rates or inflation stats. Yes, I chose interest rates over jungle tribes. I chose a trip to the Central Bank over an Amazonian adventure.

For some, that wouldn’t be a bad choice but for me – a woman who’s always loved adventure and who longed to explore the jungle – it was soul destroying.


I might not have realised it at the time, not at a conscious level, but deep down, I knew that the choices I was making on a day-to-day basis were gradually killing off my soul and spirit. That’s one of the reasons I ate, or avoided eating. I sat in an office in Brasilia, drinking diet Coke all morning to avoid eating and then bingeing on food as soon as everyone had left the office and it was just me and the story about interest rates.

This is why I talk of feeling SOUL DEAD at the end of my Reuters career, when I was working as a political journalist in the Houses of Parliament. By that stage, I had been steadily destroying my soul for more than a decade at work (and much longer in life). I had consistently made choices out of fear rather than faith. On the outside, I was doing an amazing job, being perfect, getting everything right, enjoying the privilege of flying around the world with the prime minister. But aside from the adrenaline highs of travelling in helicopters or passing through war zones, I wasn’t enjoying my work because I was denying and hiding my true self.

I was ignoring that part of me that wanted to break out and break free; that part of me that no longer wanted to stay stuck in the safety of daily trips to No. 10 Downing Street to find out what the prime minister was up to or of reporting on the budget every year; that part of me that wanted to head off into the Amazon looking for tribes, or the British equivalent.

I’m sad to report that despite nearly 15 years working for two of the world’s largest international news agencies in Mexico, Brazil and the UK and on location in Sri Lanka, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina and Haiti, I can count the stories I’m truly proud of on one hand – the stories I created myself, from my own ideas, rather than the ones I reacted to or that were given to me on a plate.

Eventually, at what appeared to be the height of my news journalism career, I got to the point when I couldn’t stand it anymore. Depression set in and I got signed off work. My soul could no longer bear to be asleep.

That was 10 years ago. So what’s happened since then?

It’s a mixed picture. In the early days, terror gripped me. Without a steady job or income, I felt lost and I had an irrational fear that the money would run out. Without someone telling me what to write or when, I had no direction.

In many ways, the world was my oyster. I had redundancy money. I could have gone anywhere and done anything. I didn’t. I returned to the safety of a job that I knew. I even returned to my old company, albeit to a different department and to a role that was more aligned with my true self and appealed to my adventurous spirit. But there were many moments in that job when my soul was dead too – commuting into work on packed Tubes, sitting in a row of desks for too many hours staring at screens, coming up with great ideas and then feeling the energy drain away as I convinced my enthusiastic self to sit back down and shut up.

After a while, I moved on, into a well-paid political analysis job, but that really killed my soul, or what was left of it. By then, I had more self-awareness. And an idea that I was destined to do something very different. So it was more painful than ever to watch myself do work that made me want to curl up and cry.

Every now and then, I ventured into the world of freelance journalism, but believing in my ideas and then following through by pitching them to magazine or newspaper editors who I deemed to be scary and better than me was a terrifying prospect. On rare occasions, I had success. But I wasn’t consistent. I kept losing my nerve. I fell back on writing jobs that bored me but that felt safe.

And guess what? Depression soon took hold again.

Or was it grief? Was I in mourning for the soul and spirit I was killing off? Was I grieving the loss of my authentic self? Was I profoundly distressed because I wasn’t living the life I knew I was designed for, because I wasn’t using my God-given gifts, because the smart, creative, joyful, child-like soul within me had been quashed?

In both those cases – at the end of my Reuters career and in that political analysis role – the darkness I felt was a gift. Sometimes we have to feel really bad before we can make a shift. Sometimes we have to watch our life flash before our eyes and truly grieve all the things we know we’re missing out on in order to change. Sometimes it’s only when the pain is unbearable that we’re willing to do anything about it. When we’re sick and tired of feeling absolutely wretched, we might be ready to move on.

And what of today? How’s my soul? How’s my spirit?

Well, my authentic self is more alive and well than she has ever been. I am writing – writing this blog. I have written a book. They are huge positives.

But then I am not writing – I am not writing the book that’s half-written or the other book I want to write. Both those projects are at risk of ending up in the hall of fame of visions that never became a reality. But I won’t allow it. This time, I won’t allow it. I have to find a way to follow through. I have to find a way to keep my dreams alive. I have to find a way to keep the fire burning. The alternative is too dark to contemplate.

One big plus is that I am coaching and running seaside retreats and next year I’ll run my first retreat abroad. These are dreams that have come true. When I stop and think about it, this new career I have carved is beyond my wildest dreams and something I’ve had my eye on for a while.

I remember, back in the dark days of my final year at Reuters, going on a holistic holiday to Skyros in Greece. There, I signed up to a personal development course. I remember sitting in a circle under some trees with other attendees, looking at our group leader and thinking, I want to be doing what you’re doing. I want to be sat in your place. And I have made that happen, in beautiful, miraculous ways. And when I write that, I smile. I have run three successful retreats. I have almost sold out my fourth. I am exactly in the right place, using my true gifts. These words from Mandy, who flew all the way from Colorado to Bournemouth to attend my retreat in May, warm my soul and remind me to continue along this path, no matter how strong the temptation at times to give up:

“Thank you for facilitating this amazing, transformative experience. You are gifted at giving space for voices, encouraging women and fostering dreams. I’m grateful!”

But what about the other ideas? What about my vision to put my How to Fall in Love course on Udemy? What about my plan to create a course on how to stop emotional eating and to write a book on this topic, which is so close to my heart and affects so many people? (Watch my ‘How to Stop Emotional Eating’ video here). What about the online and face-to-face workshops I want to put in the diary this year? What about the other books, this blog and the blog I write for Psychologies, all neglected? What about my dream to speak my truth and share my journey in companies like Reuters – to talk about the risks of addiction, eating disorders, self-harm and over-work, and the benefits of helping employees work with balance, find their joy and follow their path? What about my vision to have a regular column in a magazine or online, or to write powerful articles for the press?

Yes, I’ve written for some of my favourite magazines. I’ve been on Woman’s Hour. But these moments feel like spurts of energy. Sudden highs. Where’s the follow-through? Why don’t I keep on pitching? Why don’t I keep sharing my ideas?

And what about all the time I still spend doing stuff that doesn’t float my boat. Yes, we all need to earn a living and my ‘Love Business’, as I lovingly call it, is a start-up. Growth is bound to be slow (or is that an excuse?). But the problem is that much of the stuff I do to earn a living doesn’t earn me a living.

I underearn. I give away my time for free or for pennies. I put in too many hours because I’m a perfectionist who deep down is a wounded child who wants everyone to love and affirm her so I try too hard, meaning I don’t earn enough, meaning I end up feeling exhausted and resentful, meaning I have these sudden urges to spend the little money I’ve managed to save on an expensive holiday.

Because there isn’t enough balance. There isn’t enough time for me. I’m too busy prioritising others and chasing love and affirmation – yes, even from complete strangers, from people I may not see again. Love me, please. Approve of me. Validate me. Tell me I’m enough. And whatever you do, don’t get angry with me. It’s sad. But it’s compulsive.

So how do we break these patterns? How do we throw off these chains?

Well, that might be for another post but I’m going to share a few ideas here.

Firstly, it helps me to write things down. So that paragraph of dreams above is my ‘To Do’ list or rather it’s my ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’ list. Those are my goals. Written in black and white. Published on the internet. Committed to you all.

Yes, accountability helps. So please hold me to account. Please help me keep the fire burning on these dreams. Please give me a nudge when you haven’t heard from me in a while or when months and months go by and my love course hasn’t appeared on Udemy and my emotional eating workshop hasn’t happened yet. Please encourage me. Please know that I really want to do these things and I know they’ll benefit many people and bring in good money, but I’m scared I’ll get hurt. Please remind me that it’s safe to follow my heart and put my work out there into the world.

Because we all know what happens if I let the light go out on my dreams, don’t we? The darkness comes. My soul goes to sleep. It’s a very sad state.

What else? Well, I can find other people to be accountable to, people who are on this path, fellow creatives and dreamers who have goals that can feel outlandish but that are actually within their reach if they are able to keep the fire burning. We can email. We can talk on the phone. We can cheer each other on. We can ask where’s the book, or the screenplay, or the concert date, or the blog post, or the online workshop. We can be honest with each other about our struggles and hold each other’s hand.

And I can draw on some spiritual help. I can get on my knees and say: God, I can’t do this alone. Please help. I can go down to the beach and feel the presence of something so much greater than me when I stand on the sand or swim in the sea. I can look up and look within, to my higher self, to the bold child inside me who wants to truly express herself and be all that she can be. I can rest against a solid tree and feel the permanence of nature, allow it to hold me in its branches, allow it to nurture me as it nurtures the plants.

I can also remember that my work is service. That I am here for a purpose and that there’s a reason why I have these gifts and talents. There’s a reason why I can write 3000 words of a blog post in a few hours, or 70,000 words of a book in five weeks. There’s a reason why I can tune in to other people’s feelings and sense what’s going on beneath the surface, beneath their words, a gift that makes me a really good and intuitive coach. There’s a reason why I can communicate well in a number of languages, why I have the links and connections I have all over the world.

And most of all, there’s a reason why I’ve had the experiences that I’ve had – the good and the bad: the struggle, the addictions, the relationship woes, the periods of self-harm, the depression, the darkness, and the recovery, the personal growth, the ever-increasing self-worth, the love and the light. 

Wouldn’t it be a shame to let these gifts and these experiences go to waste? Wouldn’t it be a shame to let the light go out on my dreams and to watch the fire turn to ash?

And wouldn’t it be a shame for you to do the same? To ignore the calling that you hear, to silence the voice inside that tells you to write or sing or dance or coach or teach or draw or paint or speak or share your wonderful gifts?

Wouldn’t it be sad if you let your light go out?

Wouldn’t it be a shame if that tiny spark of an idea never became a raging fire, capable of spreading warmth all around and of touching people’s souls with its beauty?

Think about it. Are you prepared to let that happen? Or would you like to join me on this courageous journey? I can’t promise it’s going to be easy. But it doesn’t have to be a struggle either. Maybe once we get going, it’ll all fall into place. Things will flow.

Imagine that. Imagine having the momentum of a river, gushing towards the sea, rushing over rocks and taking sticks, leaves and any other obstacles with it. Imagine this river is you, moving towards your dreams.

So ladies and gentlemen, let’s do it. Let’s keep the river flowing and keep those flames alive. Who’s with me?


Upcoming events

Autumn How to Fall in Love retreat. October 12-15. Why do I doubt myself? Why do I question if I’m on the right path. I only have 2 rooms left and we’re only in June. Get in touch soon if of interest.

As for other events, as you read above, I have yet to turn my visions into a reality, but I have plenty of ideas so as soon as I get over myself and get out of my own way, I’ll have some news of my new Udemy courses on love and overeating, plus face-to-face and online workshops. In the meantime, I do have an online How to Fall in Love course available. And I do have my book!

Thanks for reading all 2996 words! x

Posted in Addiction, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Faith, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emotional dips

Here’s one I prepared earlier … I wrote the bulk of this blog yesterday morning but was unable to post. My feelings change by the day but it feels important to share yesterday’s thoughts …

I’m in a dip – an emotional dip. One of those periods when the tears aren’t far away, when all it takes is a little nudge or a tiny trigger for them to start rolling gently down my cheeks.

It’s been like this for a few weeks now and I’m quite accepting of it. In the old days, I would have panicked. I would have tried to fix myself. I would have thought there was something terribly wrong with me and that I’d never be right again.

But I’m older and wiser now. I know these emotional dips are part of my life cycle. They are part of my journey. Part of me. And the good news is they usually precede a period of emotional growth. They are the growing pains that accompany a growth spurt.

I know what this dip is about and usually I bear my soul on this blog – but not when it breaks the anonymity of those I care about. So suffice it to say that another layer of the onion is peeling off. I’m experiencing a deeper layer of grief and loss – a new awareness about myself and my story, about the events that shaped me and made me who I am. It’s painful at times, but healing too. And I know it’s an important part of my process.


Getting away from it all

I’m not down all the time. There have been some ups in recent weeks, most notably the freedom and excitement I felt as I skirted around Old Harry rocks on a paddle board beneath clear blue skies and glorious sunshine this past weekend, or as I sat soaking up the rays with my fiancé beside me on an empty pebble beach on the other side of Old Harry as my kayak rested on the shore.


These were the highs ….

These were highs – moments when the little girl inside me skipped with delight, when I felt so grateful for everything I’d made happen over the past few years, so grateful for my entire story, in fact, because we can’t always appreciate the highs without the lows.

Perhaps this emotional dip has happened now because I’ve slowed down. How many of us run and chase and constantly do stuff in order to escape from the uncomfortable feelings that inevitably surface when we pause or sit still?

I certainly do.

I feel like I’m coming out of a period of intense activity. This year, I’ve updated and re-released my book, I’ve run my second retreat, sold out my third retreat this May, coached a number of clients on love and life and started taking bookings for my fourth retreat in October. I’ve hosted a London workshop in partnership with Psychologies magazine and I’ve run two workshops in London of my own. It’s been full on. Not to mention a ski trip, setting a wedding date and spending time with my ailing mum in Wales.

And now I have paused. Well, I say that but I have just finished a BBC radio interview on love, self-love and my book (click on this link and go to 2:03:46 to listen back) and I have a talk in Poole next Monday (see the end of this post for more details or click here). But beyond that, I have nothing in the immediate future to ‘sell’ (how I dislike selling, but it’s easier if I reframe it as serving or sharing).

And I think this pause has enabled me to feel, to really feel. To embrace the grief, loss and emptiness that I often carry around, despite all the wonderful stuff that’s happened in my life.

It’s funny. I often use the phrase, ‘we take ourselves with us wherever we go’ with my coaching clients and friends. It’s relevant for anyone who’s considering moving city or country. It’s important to remember that we can change our external environment but our insides stay the same – unless we do some work on them.

The same goes for being in a relationship. Being in love and engaged is wonderful. It brings a real sense of peace and security and my partner is a rock, an oak tree. But I am still me. I have taken myself into this relationship. I haven’t left myself behind and miraculously turned into someone else – someone resolved, sorted and always at peace. I need to keep doing the work on myself. I need to keep clearing the debris from my past. I deserve to keep caring for my inner child, loving her, nurturing her, helping her to heal. I deserve to keep working on my stuff. Yes, I still have the capacity to feel blue, down, depressed, empty, even though I have a wonderful man to walk alongside me.

Maybe it’s in this pause and in feeling my feelings that I am able to create – to return to this blog after an absence and to return to another book that I have half-written and would like to finish this year (although I have to be careful about taking on another project if my mind and body want to rest). And it’s in the pause and in the feeling that I’m able to prepare, mindfully and peacefully, for my May retreat so that I can be the most empathetic, perceptive and intuitive version of myself for the lovely women who have put their faith in me.

Pausing like this has its downsides, however. My energy is lower than it usually is – because grieving and processing take energy. Have you ever noticed how exhausted you feel after a really good cry? That means I’m not as present in my Love Ladies community or in my Being Real, Becoming Whole Facebook group as I’d like to be. And I feel uneasy about that. If I were more organised, I’d have a system. I’d have scheduled upbeat posts for these low-energy times but I’m not that organised and also that wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t be authentic. I hope the members of my groups – I hope you, if you are in one or both of those groups – can forgive me. I know I’ll be firing on all cylinders again soon.

I also hope my pause and this blog can help you reflect on your feelings. I hope it can help you to slow down too and look inside. Is there anything you’re running from? Is there grief beneath the surface? Is there loss? Are you ‘using’ on frenetic activity to keep you ‘safe’ from your feelings, to numb out in some way?

Maybe the opposite is happening. Maybe you’re experiencing an emotional peak rather than a trough, and that’s wonderful. Enjoy it. Throw yourself into it. Enjoy all the energy you have. Soak up life. I know how that feels too and it’s a time to be relished. I’m looking forward to feeling that way again soon.

But if you’re running and hiding because you don’t want to feel, can I invite you to join me in a moment of slowness and stillness? Can I invite you to join me in seeking clarity about what’s going on beneath the surface and in connecting to whatever you find? Can I invite you to bring the darkness into the light?

The feelings won’t kill us. In fact, they’ll free us up to heal and to live wholeheartedly.

Thank you for bearing with me through this emotional dip. It’s an important time – one to cherish as it shows I’m in touch with my true self and because I believe it heralds good times.

As I write this, on a train to London with sun streaming through the window through the trees that line the track, I feel open, vulnerable and real. I feel soft. I feel light, relaxed and trusting. And then I close my eyes and breathe deeply and suddenly I want to cry. But instead of tears, there’s a smile. And behind the smile, there’s a knowing – a knowing that it’ll all be OK if I listen to myself and if I give myself the deep rest I know I need.

Maybe I’m coming out of it, out of the emotional dip. Maybe writing this blog helps. Writing has always been cathartic for me, after all. Freeing. As though I’m giving a voice to the truth trapped inside, as though I’m opening up my heart and letting the feelings flutter away like tiny butterflies.

Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for helping me to free my soul.


Upcoming events

Go to for information on my book, love course, coaching and retreats.

I’m speaking in Poole, Dorset, this Monday, May 14th at the Live, Laugh, Love Ladies club about my journey from binge-eating political correspondent to beach-living love coach and author. Tickets here.

As I mentioned, my October seaside retreat is open for bookings – a few spaces have gone. I also have something cooking that I’d like to give you plenty of notice about – I am planning on hosting a How to Fall in Love retreat with yoga and meditation in Turkey in October 2019. If this is of interest, please get in touch:

Thank you x

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Embracing ‘what is’

The truth is that nobody has a charmed life. Everyone experiences heartache and pain (some more than others, I grant you that). But we all have a choice as to how we live. The most important lesson I have learned is that I only have this life. There is no other. There is no ‘could have been’ or ‘what if’. There is only ‘what is’.

The above is an extract from the final chapter of the revised edition of How to Fall in Love, which sums up what’s on my heart right now.

womanstaringtoseaI think accepting ‘what is’ and letting go of ‘what if’ has to be one of our biggest challenges in life. I know it’s not easy, but if we can manage to embrace reality and let go of the fantasy of ‘what if’ or ‘if only’, I believe we’ll find peace, contentment, gratitude and joy. I believe we’ll be able to appreciate fully the miracle of our lives as they are today, rather than hankering after an imaginary existence in which we are younger, or slimmer, or had a different upbringing, or have children, or have a bigger home, or in which we made different choices. We’ll also be able to use all that energy we’ve saved by not dwelling on ‘what could have been’ to move forwards with our real lives and make wonderful things happen.

The benefits of embracing reality are clear, so why do some of us struggle to do this?

I believe that if we had a complicated childhood during which our natural, human needs for love, reassurance, security and safety weren’t met, we’ll have spent much of that childhood yearning for a different life, imagining a better existence, wishing our home was like our friend’s home, wishing our parents were still together or still in love like our friends’ mums and dads. We’ll have spent years living in a fantasy in our heads, imagining that all would be perfect, all our troubles would end and we’d feel safe, secure and good enough if we could just live there or have that.

I spent much of my childhood living in fantasy, peering through other people’s windows, wishing I lived in someone else’s home, wanting my parents to be like my friends’ parents – still married, still living in the same house, still loving each other. My mind constantly wandered to an imagined life, a life that looked nothing like mine. If I could just get there or have that, I wouldn’t feel this way, I wouldn’t feel so desolate. I wouldn’t feel so empty and broken inside.

In that imagined life, even I was different. My name was Karen (after a girl in primary school I so admired and wanted to be like). My hair was thicker, longer and blonde (Karen was blonde). My body was a different shape and size. My clothes were more stylish or fitted better.

The problem is when you spend so many years as a child longing for things to be different, looking at other people’s homes and wanting your home to be like that, believing that happiness lies over there in that life, you carry that into adulthood. You spend your time comparing and despairing. Nothing is ever good enough. You get something and you want something else. Something more. Something better. You pick holes in everything. You are not content.

This is an exhausting place to be, but it’s also dangerous. Because you can project that sense of nothing ever being good enough onto the people you love, onto the people who are closest to you, or onto the people you are trying to date. You can wreck beautiful relationships by criticising and judging and stamping your foot and declaring that this isn’t good enough and that if we could just have this or that or build a life like our friends’ lives, all would be well. You can frighten yourself with the depths of your discontentment and despair.

In those moments, you are back in your child. You are back being the little girl who felt lost, lonely and desolate and who imagined a different life, who believed that happiness had to lie somewhere else because it sure didn’t lie here. All the sadness and frustration and disappointment pour out.

And then you come out of that child state. You come out of your angry, desolate, disappointed little girl and return to being an adult. And as an adult, you talk to your inner child, you empathise with her, you come along side her and tell her you understand how she felt, how she didn’t feel safe or secure or loved or affirmed. You tell her you understand that living in fantasy and longing for a different life was a survival tool, a means of escape, a coping mechanism that served a purpose for a while but that’s no longer required.

Because there’s no joy in always wanting things to be different. There’s no contentment in hankering after someone else’s life. There’s no peace in comparing your home or relationship or status or career or childless/childfree state or parents or car or body or hair or clothing to everyone else’s. It’s a recipe for bitterness and resentment. It takes you away from the here and now. It blocks your enjoyment of all the wonderful things in your life today.

Acceptance is the answer. But acceptance comes much easier if we can understand ourselves, if we can connect with the child within, if we can soothe her wounds and hear her pain, if we can empathise with her and reassure her and love her and affirm to her that happiness is here, happiness is right here, right here and now, in this moment, in this beautiful life, in the sunshine and the green of the grass and the wildness of the waves, and in these tears, in these healing tears.


Upcoming events

If you’d like to join me on this wonderful journey of personal growth and healing, I have two events coming up.

I have 3 spaces left on my How to Fall in Love Dorset retreat, May 18-21. Self-love, self-care, nurturing, changing patterns, setting boundaries, letting go, building a beautiful life. Small group. Wonderful accommodation minutes from the sea.

And I have 11 spaces left on my London workshop, Love Yourself, Love Your Life, Find Love on April 21. This is an extended, all-day version of the sold-out February talk I gave on the same topic in partnership with Psychologies Magazine and NOW Live Events.


Posted in Childless, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Acceptance, Uncategorized, Women | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Finishing what we start


If you’re anything like me, you have lots of big ideas, lots of hopes and dreams. You write them in notebooks and draw them on big sheets of paper in coloured pens. They are the desires of your heart, or they are creative ways to expand your business, or to feel more fulfilled in your work or your life.

You get them started, knuckle down, put in some hours, do some really good work.

And then you stop.

You get distracted. You find something better to do. You start to doubt yourself. You begin to think your great idea wasn’t so great after all. You waste time doing insignificant things that are the opposite of your heart’s desires, that do nothing to expand your business or that leave you feeling dissatisfied with your work or your life.

You kind of give up on yourself.

I am prone to doing this. I always have been. But I’m learning to be different.

My book was a good sign that I’m learning to finish what I start. From the outside, it may look like I had a book idea, wrote the book and published it five weeks later. Then a year on, I updated the book and released it again. Done. Finished. Out there. Simple.

But that’s what you see on the outside. You can’t see the large perspex box in the corner of my office stacked high with notes and research from the other book that I had been trying to finish, or get close to finishing, for a number of years before I gave up and wrote How to Fall in Love. I do intend to get back to that book. I hope I can.

Nor can you see the scores of notebooks I have lying around with great ideas that I gradually dismissed or forgot about.

But I’m not here to be hard on myself. I’m here to celebrate another example of finishing what I start.

For many months now, I’ve been wanting to create a self-study version of my How to Fall in Love course – the course I first ran in January 2017, to lovely reviews; the course that created a small but extremely loyal following of women who are still in my Facebook groups today, still being coached by me, and who are beginning to date in healthier ways, pursuing their dreams, taking better care of themselves and moving in the direction they want to go.

I wanted to create the standalone course so that I could reach more people at a lower cost and so that I could earn something from all the hard work I had done.

My goal was to complete it by January. That goal then slipped to mid-February. That goal slipped too, but I’m delighted to say that I launched the course today. Hurrah! I finish what I start. I follow through on my ideas. I value myself.

It feels good. As I say on one of the steps in the course, it’s good for our self-esteem to do estimable things. Finishing what I start is an estimable thing.

If you’d like to take the self-study course or know anyone who might benefit from it, I have a very special offer of £9.99 for the first 24 hours of the course’s life – so that’s until early evening on March 1st. Click here to find out more or sign up.

Incidentally, if you’d like to take the version of the course that includes a Facebook group and coaching calls, that’s available too, starting March 19. Find out more here.

I heard something this morning that really spoke to me. I heard that we offer our work in hope. I offer my work in hope that it will touch people’s lives, that it will help people to see the truth and that it will help them to change if they need to change in order to feel happier, more at peace and to find love.

I offer this blog in hope too. In hope that my words touch you. In hope that you can relate. In hope that you can feel less alone. In hope that you feel inspired to honour your big ideas and to finish what you start.

I’d love to hear from you if this blog speaks to you.

Before I go, there’s something else I’d like to share. I did a vlog and blog for Psychologies magazine’s Life Labs site at the beach yesterday. It’s about vulnerability and how being real with ourselves and others can lead to transformation. Watch here.

I’ll sign off there but carry on reading for my upcoming events, including three workshops in London and a beautiful spring retreat at Bournemouth beach, which has just been voted the best beach in the UK.                       Earlybird offer ends in two weeks!

Upcoming events

Don’t forget to join my free Facebook group to be inspired and stay updated.

My Spring How to Fall in Love retreat is on May 18-21 in Dorset. Information here. Earlybird price available until March 16.

How to Fall in Love – Laying the Foundations. Saturday, March 24. 9:30-4:30. London. Tickets. Repeated on Saturday April 21. 9:30-4:30 pm London. Tickets. Watch this fab video to get a flavour of my face-to-face workshops.

How to Fall in Love – Challenging Fears & Changing Patterns. Tuesday, March 27. 7-9 pm. London. Tickets.

Love yourself. Love Life. Find Love. Saturday, April 21. London. Tickets. This is an extended, all-day version of my sold-out Psychologies event on Feb 12, which you can watch a bit of on this video.


Posted in Creativity, Happiness, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Acceptance, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Self-love is where it starts


Valentine’s Day isn’t easy for some of us. Everywhere we look, there are hearts, flowers and chocolates. Or couples smooching and holding hands.

Some of us can ignore it. Some can dismiss it and deride it for its rampant commercialism. Others can use it as an opportunity to hang out with wonderful friends.

But some of us find it hard.

It reminds us of what we don’t have and of what we want, what we’ve waited a long time for.

I’ve done all of the above in the past. I’ve ignored Valentine’s Day and I’ve dismissed it. I’ve gone out and had fun with my girlfriends. And I’ve felt a pang of envy, bitterness, sadness or confusion. What’s wrong with me? Why haven’t I met HIM yet?

If you’re feeling down today, I’d like to send you some love. Some virtual flowers, chocolates or bubble bath, whatever you prefer. And a virtual hug.

If you want to be in a relationship, I’d like to reassure you that it will happen, in time. I believe that. If you’re following this blog, you’re likely on your journey already, doing your personal development work, identifying your blocks and changing your patterns. Keep going. Keep digging deep. Keep being courageous.

In the meantime, while you’re still single, do what you can to love yourself. And I mean to really love yourself, to take good care of yourself, to treat yourself with love and kindness, to use gentle language about yourself rather than punishing words. It can make all the difference. It can help us build the foundations that we need for healthy relationships.

Seven years ago, I realised I wasn’t loving myself. I realised I was still harming myself, despite having been in recovery from an eating disorder for a number of years. I woke up on the first day of Lent (which is today) with a fierce determination to stop harming myself, to stop having negative thoughts about myself, my body, my appearance and my achievements. I woke up determined to stop judging and criticising myself.

I began writing my first ever blog post on a site I called Just As I Am – An Experiment in Self-Acceptance. I was 39 at the time. I declared on that blog my intention to abstain from negative thoughts and self-harming behaviours for 40 days, and to blog about my progress every day throughout Lent.

It was an incredible experience, in so many ways. I believe that 40-day period of abstinence (or near abstinence – I did my best, one day at a time) from negative thoughts helped me to form new, self-loving habits. It didn’t change everything. My self-harm goes back years. It has deep roots. But it helped. It really helped. It increased my awareness of how I was treating myself and speaking about myself.

And awareness, I believe, is the first step to change.

That blog also marked a turning point in my life and my career. I got incredible feedback. As I opened up and shared my vulnerabilities, others responded to me in amazing ways, sharing openly with me in comments or by email, being vulnerable too.

Then, 40 days later, I turned my Just As I Am blog into this blog as I turned 40 and I continued to write whatever was on my heart – my struggles with being single and not having children, my relationship difficulties, my desire to leave London and to change my career. And, eventually, I blogged about my successes too – my relationship, my engagement, my new home in Dorset and my flourishing work as a relationships coach.

This blog also inspired my book. It helped me build my confidence as a writer, connect with my audience and develop the material I wanted to share in my book. That book, which I’ve just re-released, has opened so many doors. I’ve been in Psychologies magazine, on Woman’s Hour, in the national newspapers and, this Monday evening, I spoke to some 70 people in London at a sold-out event with Psychologies magazine and NOW Live Events. I shared about loving ourselves, loving our lives and loving others to a wonderful audience and I received some amazing feedback. Thank you. (I will be repeating that talk on Feb 28: Love Yourself. Love Life. Find Love.)

I also shared my approach to love and the 10 steps in my book on Psychologies magazine’s Facebook page today, on Valentine’s Day. You can watch the recording of my live video here.

All this, all this change, all this wonderful progress, began with self-love. It all began with that decision to stop harming myself, to stop punishing myself, to stop treating myself with contempt. It began with that decision to try to accept myself wholeheartedly, just as I am.

So as Lent begins, is there anything you would like to give up? And I don’t mean chocolate or alcohol (but if you want to give those things up, there’s nothing wrong with that). I mean some negative behaviour or habit, some form of self-harm.

What would you like to let go of? How would you like to change your relationship with yourself? How can you love yourself rather than hurt or punish yourself?

I believe a deep level of self-love will help you form a healthy relationship with another, if that is your desire.

Remember, transformation is available to all of us and self-love is a wonderful place to start.


Upcoming events

I would love you to join me at any of the following workshops, events or retreats: Email me at with any questions.

Love yourself. Love Life. Find Love. Wednesday, Feb 28, 7-9 pm. London. Tickets. This is a repeat of my sold-out Psychologies event on Feb 12.

How to Fall in Love – Laying the Foundations. Saturday, March 24. 9:30-4:30. London. Tickets. Repeated on Saturday April 21. 9:30-4:30 pm London. Tickets.

How to Fall in Love – Challenging Fears & Changing Patterns. Tuesday, March 27. 7-9 pm. London. Tickets.

Spring How to Fall in Love retreat. May 18-21. Dorset. Information here.

Posted in Addiction, Body Image, Childless, Dating, Eating disorders, Health, Love, Positive thinking, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Acceptance, Uncategorized, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death and life


January can be a bleak month but this January has been especially bleak. I have lost two friends to cancer. Two contemporaries. Two beautiful women, one in her 40s, one in her early 50s, both gone before their time.

These are the first close contemporaries I have lost, except for a friend who died when I was in my teens, back when I was disconnected from my feelings and too young to appreciate how truly wonderful it is to be alive. Celebrities around my age have died but it’s so much more profound, so much more shocking and saddening, to lose a friend.

One was a friend from my childhood days back in Liverpool and her passing has sparked memories of those two summers a gang of us spent cycling around the Lake District and the countless Saturday nights we spent as teenagers drinking Southern Comfort and lemonade or lager and black in local pubs in the 80s. She was surrounded by a beautiful family and so many friends. She touched many hearts. Her funeral was only yesterday – feelings are raw – so I won’t write any more.

The other friend, Tricia, was a colleague who I saw a few days every week at our shared work space in Bournemouth. She was a writer who inspired me to write, a creator who encouraged me to create. She was also a fellow restless soul, a searcher and a seeker. We had many deep conversations over many cups of herbal tea.

I am re-reading Tricia’s novel, Benedict’s Brother and being moved to tears. I feel so connected to her through her words and through her story. I’ve just finished the part where the protagonist tours the bridge on the River Kwai in Thailand and I’m remembering when I made that trip myself, at 19. Two university friends and I had done the usual Chiang Mai trek followed by some island hopping and we were back in Bangkok. They wanted to go shopping. I wanted to go to the bridge. So I went alone on the bus and had a bizarre experience there, which I blogged about back in 2015 in a post called Keeping the spirit of adventure alive.

I ended up alone on a public bus with a driver who appeared to be giving me a private tour of the bridge, the cemeteries and other sights. I say appeared because I couldn’t understand a word he said and vice versa. I remember stopping at some rocks, which could have been the Hellfire Pass Tricia writes about in the book (I can’t recall). I remember catching a glimpse of the driver’s bare back as he lifted his shirt to mop his brow. And then spotting the gun tucked into his trouser belt. I remember my terror. Have I been kidnapped by the bus driver? Was he going to harm me? And I remember the restaurant he took me to for lunch, where paranoia got the better of me. I thought he’d drugged my lemonade so I went to the bathroom to see if I could escape through the window. No luck. Eventually, after a few more scares when I thought he was driving me somewhere else, he took me to the bus station, accompanied me onto the bus (which also freaked me out), sat me down and then said his polite goodbyes in Thai. I wasn’t in any danger after all. He was a kind and generous man who just happened to have a pistol down his trousers.

Reading Tricia’s descriptions of that beautiful, moving place – the River Kwai, the bridge, the surrounding scenery and its tragic history – took me right back. Like her protagonist, I was a young, sensitive woman who felt things deeply and who preferred to ride in the open air on the back of a truck than sit inside the cab.

The first time I read Benedict’s Brother I barely knew Tricia. I met her at a book reading and shared my own ambitions to write and my frustration that I hadn’t yet managed to get anything into print. The dedication she wrote in my copy of her book that I bought that night reads: “To Katherine. Next time we meet you’ll have FINISHED that book!!” followed by a smiley face. I hadn’t, but eventually I did, with her help. The book’s storyline is also profound but I won’t spoil it for you. I’d love you to read it. I promise it will move you.


Summer reading

A while after our first meeting, Tricia and I became friends and colleagues. She read a draft of some of my book and helped me to choose the cover design. A few days before she died, she sent me this message on Whatsapp from her hospital bed after I shared with her that I was scared to write, scared to finish the revised edition of my book: “Your words – especially your words – have wonderful positive power for many women. And some wonderful men too. Go girl.” Always encouraging. Always uplifting. Right to the end.

Tricia had extraordinary success with her book. It is now in film production and we hope it will make it to the big screen. A new and exciting chapter of her life was just beginning. She had just swapped her old car for a shiny white convertible golf so that she could enjoy Bournemouth’s sunshine and big skies in style.

Our work place isn’t the same without her. She has left a hole. But she’s also left a huge legacy, which extends far beyond her book and future film. She touched us all with her warmth, her sensitivity, her openness and her endearing smile. She showed us the value of relationships and the importance of making time to connect with each other and with the natural world around us.


Rose petals on the beach

That’s why a bunch of us went in the sea this week following her memorial service, during which her ashes and rose petals were scattered into the sea from Boscombe Pier. We connected with each other and with her. We laughed. And we experienced the bracing cold. She wouldn’t have joined us but she would have cheered us on with that huge heart and big smile.

I find it hard not to think of her when I’m doing simple things. I listen to a wonderful song and think she won’t get to hear that again. I plunge my hands into soapy water to wash the dishes and, just as I’m about to moan about my dull chore, I realise she won’t get to wash dishes again. I touch my partner, feel his warmth, and feel devastated at the thought that she’ll never touch another again.

But maybe I can believe that she’s listening to sweeter songs now and experiencing love, somewhere else where there are no dirty dishes to wash.

Death will come to us all, sooner or later. But we can honour those who have passed away before their time and we can appreciate the gift of life by truly living. As I wrote at the end of the revised edition of my book:

We have no idea when our time will be up. So let’s live courageously and love courageously, for our own sakes and in memory of those who no longer have the chance.

So what would living courageously look like to you? And what would loving courageously look like to you? What changes do you need to make in your life?

I confess that I find it hard to live courageously. Or maybe that’s unfair. Because the truth is I wake up most days feeling scared, scared of the steps I need to take in my work, scared of the conversations I need to have, scared of being me in this big, crazy world. But then I do it. I do it anyway. I stress and worry and question. I procrastinate. I waste time and energy making decisions, unmaking them and then making them again.

But I do it. I make good things happen.


Getting hitched!

I was struck today by how much my life has changed. My fiancé and I went to a wedding fair in Bournemouth (our worst nightmare but we decided to give it a go and we actually had a giggle and got some good information too). As I walked around the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), I was reminded of my days as a political journalist, attending party conferences there, running around the halls trying to speak to MPs and get vox pops from delegates, stressing over the stories that I needed to file, binge eating to ease my terror of making a mistake. And at the end, heading back exhausted to my London flat and my single life.

Today I was there as a fiancée. But I was also there as an author, as a dating and relationships coach and as a mid-life mentor (carrying a few How to Fall in Love books in my handbag just in case). I was there as someone who lives here in a home with my partner, by the beach and the sea. I was there as a woman who has found her purpose and passion and who is beginning to blossom and flourish as she takes to the stage to share her message with others. I was there as a speaker who on Monday will host a sold-out London workshop in partnership with Psychologies magazine (Fall in love with yourself, with life and another) and who’s had the courage to put on another London workshop on the same theme a few weeks later for anyone who missed out (Love yourself, love life, find love on Feb. 28), plus a few more events and seaside retreats in coming months (click here for details).

So I am living. I am truly living. Most days I’m terrified. I wake up feeling anxious. But I feel alive. I already have a legacy in my book and I know that I am touching people’s lives. It took courage to get here, bucket loads of courage, and it will take even more courage to continue along this path. But it’s worth it.

How about you? Where do you want to be? What do you want to do? Do you want to find a healthy relationship and have the courage to commit? Do you want to write your book or stand at the front of the room and deliver your message to an audience at a Psychologies event? Do you want to share your gifts with the world? And what’s stopping you?

You have those gifts for a reason. You’re meant to share them with others, not keep them all to yourself.

Believe me, I know it’s not easy. Tricia knew it wasn’t easy too. The following extract is from her final blog post, To the River (the title of the film that’s being made of her book). It was read at her memorial this week.

As with anything, sometimes you have to take a risk and jump into the river, be knocked under, be challenged and be scared, be battered and bruised but be carried by a bigger force to a place where the waters are calmer, where the river is wide and where the risk is worth it because we find the sun shining and the flora flourishing and we find the place where our hearts can be truly happy.

And that is by far a more beautiful and better place to be than to remain standing on the bank of the river, failing to dare.

So, the world may indeed feel in collapse and chaos but by jumping in I truly believe we will eventually see the wonderful world we seek.

Nobody said it would be easy.

Indeed, nobody said it would be easy. So don’t stand on the riverbank. Jump in.


Upcoming events

I would love you to join me at any of the following workshops, events or retreats: Email me at with any questions.

How to Fall in Love. Wednesday, Feb 14th. Valentine’s Day. Facebook Live on Psychologies magazine Facebook page. 1 pm.

Love yourself. Love Life. Find Love. Wednesday, Feb 28, 7-9 pm. London. Tickets. This is a repeat of my sold-out Psychologies event on Feb 12.

How to Fall in Love – Laying the Foundations. Saturday, March 24. 9:30-4:30. London. Tickets. Repeated on Saturday April 21. 9:30-4:30 pm London. Tickets.

How to Fall in Love – Challenging Fears & Changing Patterns. Tuesday, March 27. 7-9 pm. London. Tickets.

Spring How to Fall in Love retreat. May 18-21. Dorset. Information here.




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Celebrate. You are enough. You’ve done enough.


Does it never feel good enough? Do you never feel like you can stop, pat yourself on the back, relax and take it easy? Is there always more to do?

Once you’ve achieved something, perhaps something you’ve been aspiring to for a really long time, do you pick holes in it, fail to congratulate yourself and quickly move on to the next thing on your list?

Welcome to my world.

I’m sad this is still the case for me, despite years of “work on myself”.

Of course, it’s much better than it was, but it’s still true. I still struggle to accept, acknowledge and reward my achievements. I can always find something to complain about, something that wasn’t good enough, something I could have done better.

I know it’s not a great way to be, but it’s an old habit, and old habits die hard.

I find it particularly difficult to wrap things up at this time of year, to down tools, to switch off the computer, to say I’ve done enough. There’s always more work to do. And once the work’s done, there’s the house to tidy and clean and the cards to write and the clothes to declutter and … I could go on and on. The list is endless.

It’s even more difficult to say enough is enough this year, because I have a busy and potentially very exciting 2018 ahead. I’m starting a new How to Fall in Love course and have my second seaside retreat, both in early January; I want to update and re-release my book in time for Valentine’s Day to include my engagement; I’m leading a workshop in London in partnership with Psychologies Magazine on Feb 12; and I’m doing a Facebook Live on Psychologies page on Feb 14. I also want to create a standalone How to Fall in Love course, so people can download it and follow it at their leisure.

So I’ve got a lot to prepare for.

But in the busyness, I forget that the magic, the real creativity, happens in the space in between. Yes, things don’t get done unless we give them the attention and energy they deserve. But we’ll end up feeling empty inside, despite all our many achievements, if we don’t allow ourselves the time and space to revel in our accomplishments, to rest and recharge, to walk on the beach or in the hills, to enjoy the company of our loved ones.

So in this moment, I’d like to ask you to pause for a moment, to catch your breath, to put down the ‘To Do’ list and to take some time to appreciate all that you’ve done this year and, more importantly, all that you are.

Who have you become this year? How have you evolved and grown? Have you challenged your fears and overcome obstacles? Have you gone through pain and heartache and come out the other side, still standing and feeling a little bit stronger? Have you been kind, generous and loving this year, to yourself and others? Have you seen wonderful things – beautiful flowers or incredible views? Have you smiled and laughed? Have you held hands with a friend, partner or relative? Have you offered support to those you knew were struggling? How have you been?

And as you celebrate the things you’ve done, can you see the deeper significance in them? This is a useful exercise for me. It really helps me appreciate how far I’ve come, rather than just reel off a list of accomplishments.

So when I celebrate the fact I ran my first How to Fall in Love course in January 2017, I can look deeper and congratulate myself for going for my dreams, for trusting myself big time, for putting my work out there in a completely different way, for believing that I had something to offer and for following through on that.

And when I celebrate the fact that I published my book this year, I can see what an extraordinary achievement that was. Not because I wrote 80,000 words in 5 weeks, learned about self-publishing and got my book out there within my deadline. But because I finally faced my fears of criticism, judgement and rejection and I finally got over my perfectionism and my sense that nothing I do is ever good enough. I dug deep. I dug really deep. I surmounted what had seemed an insurmountable obstacle before. I got out of my own way.

Recently, in conversation with a budding writer, I compared the way I wrote and published my book to an experience I had driving as a teenager. I hadn’t long passed my test and I wasn’t entirely confident behind the wheel. I was driving down my street and there were cars parked either side, with just a narrow gap in between. I approached the gap but it looked too tight, too narrow to get through. But I couldn’t turn around either. So I closed my eyes, put my foot on the accelerator and sped through that gap.

I wouldn’t advise driving with your eyes closed and I’m not sure I want to repeat that experience, but it reminds me of how I wrote my book. I closed my eyes and put my foot down on the accelerator – hard. It was the only way to get through my fear and outwit my perfectionism and constant second-guessing.

My engagement, of course, has a deeper meaning too. I’m not sure I have space here to explain its true significance. That’s why I wrote the book! But in brief, it marked the culmination of years and years of personal development, therapy and recovery from self-sabotage and dysfunctional relationship patterns. It reflected the fact that finally I’d learned to fully love and accept myself so that I could fully love and accept someone else. It was a symbol of my courage to face my fears of intimacy and commitment and of potential heartache and hurt, which is always on the cards when you love with all your heart.

It was the wounded little girl inside finally growing up and saying OK, I’m ready, I’m ready to love.

I want to cry when I write that. It took a long time. It really did take a long time. But it was so worth the journey.

There was a moment, too, this year when I found my voice in a way that I haven’t found it before. I spoke up for myself in a professional relationship. I challenged that deep core belief that says that if I’m myself, if I’m true to myself and speak my truth, something really bad will happen. Instead, I spoke my truth and something really good happened. That was a significant event. I deserve a pat on the back for that.

Other highlights include seeing my writing, my book and my thoughts featured in some prominent places – Red, The Daily Mail, Psychologies magazine and the Psychologies Life Labs blog (Breakdown to Breakthrough and Coping with Christmas without children) and finally, just before the end of the year, on Woman’s Hour, talking about ambivalence towards motherhood. Of course, I came away from that interview wishing I’d said this or that or wishing it had been longer. But can I pause for a moment and congratulate myself? I’d wanted to be on Woman’s Hour for years.

Those media appearances are a testimony to my persistence and perseverance. I have continued to email or phone, even when previous emails or phone calls have been ignored. I’ve believed in what I had to say and in the importance of sharing it with the world. I’ve challenged those inner voices that have told me that nobody wants to hear me or read me, that my stuff isn’t good enough.

I’ve fought for myself. I’ve really fought for myself, which is hugely encouraging because I can so easily give up on myself.

Finally, a few days ago, I used my voice again, to sing in a Christmas choir. That might seem an average, run-of-the-mill achievement to some, but in auditioning for that choir (scary moment – potential for huge embarrassment) and in singing out loud as part of it, I was going against the message I’d heard most of my life that I couldn’t sing. Who says I can’t sing? I love singing. I recognise I’m not the best singer in the choir but I sang with gusto, and with a big smile on my face.

So when you look back on your year and on all that you’ve done and all that you’ve been, can you see the deeper meaning? Can you see the significance? Can you see how everything that’s gone before – the good and the bad – has prepared you for today? Can you see how much you’ve grown? Can you celebrate your progress?

And how are you going to celebrate? And how am I? This came up in the final coaching call of the year with my Love Ladies community the other night. I am privileged to have been working with some of these women since January 2017, when they signed up for my first How to Fall in Love course. I feel honoured that they’ve stuck around.

On the call, I shared one of my weaknesses – doing something tangible to celebrate my achievements. And I came up with the idea of a hot stone massage so I’m promising myself, and you, that I will make time for that. I will spend the money, I’ll put the date in the diary and I’ll enjoy it. I’ll enjoy the stillness, the warmth, the touch and the peace.

But perhaps an even better way of celebrating would be to down tools, to say enough is enough, to give myself a break, to take some time off. I hope I can do that. I truly do.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2018.

Katherine x


Dates for your diary:

I’m hosting a free webinar on Thursday Jan 4 at 1 pm: Create the Life & Love You Want in 2018. This is the second part of a two-part series. If you’d like the recording from Letting Go, Moving Forwards, email or sign up for Jan 4.

If you’d like to find a loving relationship in 2018, I have a few rooms left on my How to Fall in Love retreat on Jan 12-14. My How to Fall in Love 6-week course kicks off again on Jan 8. And on Feb 12, I’ll be leading a workshop in London in partnership with Psychologies and NOW Live events: Fall in love with yourself, with life and with another.


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