The best things in life are free….

This saying couldn’t be truer. Over the last three weeks I have been a volunteer dresser backstage at World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW) and I have done this role for 13 years. I dress a model, who wears the most remarkable garments and I am part of an amazing show. You have to see it to believe it, something crossed between Cirque du Soleil and an art/fashion show. Very hard to describe.

Anyway, there are many reasons why I keep going back year after year (and I have been heard to say by many that ‘this year is my last year!’) but mostly it is the lovely group of ladies that I dress with and dress. We don’t catch up all that often, but once show time comes around we like to have a wine or gin after the occasional show and catch up on what has happened I the past 12 months. Although I only see these ladies for the WOW season, I still consider them friends. We share good memories, have a laugh, a hug and enjoy what we do backstage.

Best things in life are free

Then this meme showed up on my Facebook feed and it reminded me of how lucky we all are to have these free things in our life. A bit like my gratitude post, it made me pause and reflect, that we don’t need money or things, we really only need these nine things. It also reminded me of how much I value my sleep.

A friend of mine is going through some roadworks at the moment and is struggling to sleep, this doesn’t help with the everyday stuff that comes up and it would be hard for her or anyone to be able to value the other eight best things due to the lack of sleep.

How often are you going through some roadworks but forget to reach out to your friends and family for help? Is it because you don’t want to be seen as a failure or unable to cope with life? Or are you caught up with your issues and internalise stuff instead? Don’t forget the value of family or friends they are there as they love you and are your support group and cheer leaders. It may be hard to fess up that things aren’t going well, but as the saying goes and problem shared is a problem halved.

Do you ever notice that when you smile at someone they can’t help but smile back? What we don’t know is what has happened in their day and that maybe that smile you shared made an impact on their day – something else free to share.

Last week in New Zealand we had mental health awareness week, and there was a lot in the media about looking after yourself and making sure you ask one another ‘are you okay?’. This is a wee reminder that this shouldn’t just happen one week of the year, we should be regularly asking each other this, and genuinely listening to the answer we get. You never know you may just help someone.

Just remember the nine free things in life – hugs, smiles, friends, family, kisses, sleep, laughter, good memories and love!

Food for thought

My sister shared a short video (3:30) with me this morning and it resonated with me, so of course now I must share it with you.

In essence, the video is about whole foods and how if we are eating good nutritious food then there is no need for medicines. It also mentions that so many of us leave it till it is too late to look after ourselves. For instance, you get really sick and then you realise that what you are fuelling your precious body with is not actually doing it any good. Watch it here

How many of us know where our food comes from? Sadly, there are many children in the world that cannot recognise and name vegetables. How is your food processed? What is its nutritional value? Is it good for you? Do you suffer from reflux? Bloating, lots of burping and flatulence? Do you know what foods cause you to feel that way? Is it time to figure it out for your good health? It has taken me 50 years, but I know that diary is not good for me. If I eat dairy, then my body tries to fight it. Then I have to start the process again of getting and feeling better.

There are many different ways to work out what is good and not good for you, you could follow a FODMAP diet. This effectively eliminates any food that could potentially be causing issues for you, then you slowly reintroduce one food at a time to see if there are any reactions.

However, the best place to start would be to eliminate any processed foods. Not sure what those are? Anything that has a label and you don’t recognise as a whole food. Would your grandmother recognise it? When shopping stick mainly to the outside of the supermarket. This is where the vegetables and meat are normally located.

A little bit about labels – did you know that they can be up to 25% wrong? They are a best guess estimate in most cases. So, if you are concerned about calorie counting, this is not a good place to start. Again, whole foods are best, they don’t require a label.

Your body is an amazing machine (and you only get one – there are no replacement parts quite the same), but like other machines it requires the right fuel to provide energy throughout the day. Are you fuelling yours on high octane, diesel or something a little dodgy?

In my bookcase I have a great book called ‘Prescription for nutritional healing’. It’s a huge book, which covers every known condition that can happen within and on our bodies. And it suggests the whole foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs that can help heal that condition. It also suggests what you shouldn’t have if you have that condition.

For instance, under flatulence it suggests, eating four to five meals per day instead of three big meals. To eat slowly and mindfully, in a relaxed setting. Keep a food journal to determine what foods or combination of foods cause the gas. Choose less-processed, whole foods. Pretty simple eh? These recommendations are the same as in my new text book, so it must be the right things to do.

So, till next week… keep eating good whole foods and if you need any help in working out what is nutritionally good or not for you I am happy to help.

Food for thought

Passion and the rabbit hole

I’ve been making a list of the topics that I want to write about on this site and each week I think that I will write about one of them and then as I start to type something else pops into my head that is relevant for me on the day. Today is no different.

I mentioned in my first post about my plans to get a qualification in the health and wellbeing area. I am pleased to say that I have started that journey and I am studying with Precision Nutrition (PN) on how to be a nutrition coach. This course ticks quite a few of the items that I am interested in. It is about being client centric – meaning, I won’t be forcing my views on my client (as I have done in the past). But rather helping my client gain an understanding of what is good for them, nutritionally, holistically and exercise wise. Then helping my client make small improvements to a better healthier person.

I have finished the first chapter already and I am waiting for the text book to arrive from Canada. The tracking system informs me that it will be on the 10th October. In the meantime, they have generously provided chapter two on-line, and I can’t wait to get started on that.

One of the articles I have read from PN talks about following your passion. In fact, it said ‘go down the rabbit hole’. This was written by one of the founders of PN, and he talks about the advice he received from career counsellors that said he was mad to want to work with sports teams and athletes to help them eat, move and live better. Every counsellor he went to said the same thing – you should go to medical school instead.

They in affect squashed his dream. So, he went to medical school, but every moment he had, he volunteered to help sports teams, he attended seminars and he read everything he could get is hands on the topics he was interested in.

He graduated with a pre-med degree, but other doors had opened for him in the areas he was passionate about. He followed his passion and went down the rabbit hole. And that is what I am doing too. It has taken me a lot longer than him to realise what rabbit hole I wanted to go down. But as the Mainland cheese advert says, “Good things take time”.

I have really enjoyed reading the articles and text so far with PN. It has not felt like a chore to take time in my day to read and take notes. The information resonates with me, so I know that I have made the right choice. I can’t wait to put it all into practice and I am lucky that I already have a client that I am working with to help her achieve her goals.

If you are interested to hear more information about how I can help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals, please get in contact.

Rabbit hole


Hopefully the title got your attention?

Do you know when you are stressed? Do you identify with any of the below?

Cognitive symptoms   Physical symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgement
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying


  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu
Emotional symptoms   Behavioural symptoms
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

I know that there have been many times in my life when I have had one or more of the above symptoms. However, at the time, I never thought that I was stressed. It wasn’t until the thing that was causing the stress had gone away or been dealt with that I could look back and think ‘Boy, was I stressed then!’.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about my first marriage breaking up. Surprise, surprise, I was stressed, but I couldn’t see it. Funnily enough a girlfriend gave me a little book called ‘The little book of calm’. I wondered why she gave me the book. I thought I was acting normally and well in control. It’s not till reflecting on my behaviour over that time that I realise now I was showing quite a number of the above symptoms.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale list the top ten stressful life events that contribute to illness. They are

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marriage separation
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Death of a close family member
  6. Injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Job loss
  9. Marriage reconciliation
  10. Retirement

However, what stresses you can be something completely different, and just because it is not on the top ten list, doesn’t mean you are not stressed.

So, how do I deal with stress, you might ask? Well, exercise is great, in two ways. One, you have time in your day when you don’t have to worry or stress about what is going on – you just workout. Two, it helps raise endorphins (if you don’t know what they are, they are similar to the effect of morphine on your body. In other words, you feel really positive about life and this also enhances good feelings).

As mentioned in earlier blogs, other ways that I deal with stress are gratitude, positive thinking and remembering that this time is just some ‘road works’ and it is up to me to make the choice to work my way through it.

One of my pet hates is people who moan and groan about what is going on in their lives and then don’t do anything about it. We all have choices and you have to live with the choices you have made.

There are numerous articles on stress on the internet, and this blog is not the be all and end all to how to identify or deal with stress. Stress is a very personal experience and if you are feeling stressed or showing any of the above symptoms, make sure you talk to someone who can help you understand and work your way through whatever it is that is stressing you. And/or make the choice to deal with what is making you stressed.


I’ve seen a lot lately in my social media feeds on gratitude, and I am not sure if it is just me or others have too. It has made me think and question ‘what is gratitude?’. Why is it relevant to me, right now, and for the future?

I do know that when life is tough it is hard to think beyond the horribleness that is happening in your life. Remember my earlier blog about road works? Where only you can change that lollipop sign? It helps to try and put things in perspective. By this I mean, I am better off than a lot of other people. I have a loving husband, a roof over my head and my health, and much more. Although sometimes the stress of everything affects your health. This week my back decided that it had had enough. I couldn’t walk without pain, let alone dry my toes after my shower. I took some time out to relax, give thought to the why of my back playing up. I even took a couple of days off CrossFit. Those that know me well, know that for me to take some time off CrossFit, something big must have happened.

It has done me the world of good and today is a great day. I am thankful that the sun is shining, that I can touch and dry my toes again and that all is not hopeless.

I found this great little journal type book from kikki.K called “Today was a good day”. It has a list of things that you can tick off as being grateful for. Some of these are:

  • I smiled today
  • I made someone smile today
  • I moved my body
  • I stayed hydrated today
  • I said the words ‘I love you’ today
  • I learnt something new today
  • I got outside today

I think you get the general idea. It is not just that you are grateful, but that you helped someone else have a great day too. I like the thought that I have helped someone else have a good day, even if my day is not going that well.

My hubby and I have tried to remember to ask each other each day what we are grateful for – we normally do this at dinner time or just before turning the light out at night. It is a nice practice and helps us appreciate each other and what is good about being alive.

I dare you to have a go at writing some things down that you are grateful for! They don’t have to be big ticket items, just the fact you got out of bed and faced the day can be enough. And you don’t need a cute little book to write them in, use a post it note to put on your mirror or just do what my hubby and I do.

I hope that you and yours have had a grateful day today and that the sun comes up again for us all in the morning.