Monday, 29 July 2019

Book Review: The Year that Changed Everything

Three women living completely separate lives celebrate important birthdays on the same day. As Ginger faces a wedding from hell on her thirtieth birthday, Sam has just delivered her long-awaited baby on her fortieth and Callie’s life turns upside down mid lavish party on her fiftieth. All of them go through a year that justifies the novel’s title The Year That Changed Everything, by writer Cathy Kelly.

One year is actually a pretty tight timeline in which to cover the diverse number of issues that Kelly’s characters encounter. Themes such as infertility and post-natal depression, growing up without a mother, self-consciousness, hoarding, addiction, a narcissistic spouse and over-due reconciliations are all on the agenda in this strictly commercial story; one that hinges on the idea of the three protagonists becoming stronger women by the end of it.

The book received mostly good to glowing reviews by readers but from an author’s point of view I have to say that it was too formulaic as well as lacking that edge. It flits from one woman’s tale to the next as well as between timelines, in a bid to keep the reader abreast of all the storylines at once. Whilst this technique worked well in The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins) and even The Girl Before (JP Delaney), here it suffered from a lack of knowledge on how to handle what turns into an extreme switching game, taking us on a dizzy ride that stopped the flow any time it was picking up. Speaking of ‘picking up’, the lack of cliffhangers and constant to and fro don’t make for a book you look to pick up and continue.

I do feel the author gave enough background for each story to function properly as well as stand in its own right. In fact, despite running parallel to each other, the stories only converge at the end.  This, together with some very unexpected twists and turns, is what scores the book some points. However the characters themselves are at times almost stereotypical and yet not exactly believable. I wonder at the speed with which Callie’s daughter switches mindset about the life situation they find themselves in, just as I wonder would a real mother act like Callie’s after so many years of no-contact. Ginger meanwhile, seems to me to be two totally different characters at different times, much as though the author did not really decide beforehand whether she is a tough cookie or not beneath it all. In fact, main character Sam and her sister Joanne seem to be the best-constructed of the lot, with Sam’s loved-up husband and her doting dad rounding up the acceptable cast.

This book screams chick lit through and through. It makes an interesting story when you’re up for a light read but I would never class it as re-readable. So enjoy it for what it is: a story with a fairytale ending, that roots for females who stick up for each other and makes one feel that in life, perception is the key to happiness. After all, the author may have gotten that part right.

This book was kindly provided by Agenda Book Shop.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

What is a Twin Flame?

I have been asked this question so many times that by the end of it my reply grew always longer and more elaborate and turned into a whole essay about the subject (which I still think is not enough really to explain the totality of the phenomenon).

Some people believe in them, others don't. Some believe without having met theirs and others don't believe simply because they haven't met theirs. The ones who have met their twin flames could never go back from believing that their twin could be anyone but a twin flame. Because truly, it will feel extraordinarily different to be with them than to interact with any other human being in the world so there is no way you won't 'know' that this is a special bond once you start what is usually more of a non-relationship than a relationship. The twin flame is the one and only, the biggest revealer of all your insecurities and the biggest love you can ever have, a love that transcends time and space. They are your mirror, so that anything that upsets you in them you will easily trace back to the way you treat yourself and any self-growth and soul-growth you go through you will see mirrored in them even when the two of you are apart. The Twin Flame will bring you peace and depression both, if you are not yet in a place in your life where you feel you are secure. However I can tell you that I would never have it any other way and that even should my Twin Flame and I not reunite in this lifetime, my unconditional love for him would always remain. It takes a lot for me to commit to anything, it is one of my spiritual blocks that I am working on in fact, and as a start to overcoming that what better way than to tattoo the Twin Flames symbol invented by St Germain on my skin, a commitment for life.

Here is the gist of What is a Twin Flame?:

At the very beginning, God split each soul into two - the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. We are all of us just one part of those two (either very feminine with a tiny bit of masculine or vice versa). Each of the two halves goes to earth and embodies a human, one lifetime after another. The pact is that the two halves eventually will reunite. When they do, they will mirror all your good and all your bad till both of you will start this 'game' of running from the other due to all the fears and doubts else chasing them obsessively as they will feel like ‘home' (which makes the other run more). Most of the time, both twins are chaser and runner at different times in the ‘non-relationship’. They will usually appear in your life at a time of great need to teach you your lessons and to help you find God.

If in the particular lifetime, the twins not only meet but manage to stop the on/off relationship by learning all their lessons and coming into union is when they will use their time on this earth to complete their missions, preferably by each other's side, and eventually when they leave this world they ascend together to heaven as one. The twins don't reincarnate at the same time, or not in the same place or not of the same race a lot of the time. They will face their perfect other half and yet feel that due to society etc they have hurdles to be together. (For example the Divine Masculine being much younger than the Divine Feminine and therefore in a totally different kind of lifestyle etc). It is scarily true that every complaint you will find in your twin’s character you may trace back to yourself once you try and once a twin ‘fixes’ a bad trait then both will stop doing it. Twins are telepathic but even unconsciously mirror life.

When you meet your twin even if you know nothing of this, you will somehow feel this explosion within you, this amazing euphoria that comes from a happiness of being whole again. Hence the chase whenever one runs or vice versa. But the union only happens once you stop relying on your twin for happiness and find it within. It is known that twins once they find each other will never feel complete without the other and try as they might to keep any karmic/soulmate relationship going, they will eventually move on to the twin permanently. Twin flames share one energy - a big magnetic energy - which is probably part of why they feel better when with the other I guess too.

Friday, 19 July 2019

The 'Like Attracts Like' Effect on Relationships

I have been asked by multiple male acquaintances do I have any single female friend for them to date. Now this question in itself boggles my mind. I can’t for the life of me understand how someone would go on, say, a blind date, else date someone purely based on a photo and a reference from a friend. Yeah, I know not everyone is demisexual and most people seem to have no problem sleeping with the opposite sex just for a ‘good time’. That said, it is quite a shot in the dark to assume that a date could potentially work with someone you didn’t have some kind of previous communication with. After all, photos lie and I have realised that most of the time actually even messages do. Add to this, what exactly are the odds that I have one female friend who is single and available and she turns out to be a match at all?

It irritates me any time someone asks me the question, not only because I cannot fathom how they are ready to take such a gamble, but also because it makes them seem needy.

I might be sounding offensive at this point. I have heard all kinds of excuses for this desperation but at the end of it, if a man (or woman really) is at a point that they are willing to ask a third party to hook them up with a random date, then I can’t see that it is a very healthy start to any kind of relationship, not even the friends-with-benefits kind!

Any relationship is doomed for either failure or, even worse, toxicity, if it is built on a ‘need’ rather than an honest ‘want’. Add to this, whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or no, the base of it still applies to all that is so that truly, you will always attract what you yourself are. Let’s put it in practical terms:

How many well-put-together, successful, self-loving, females are looking to date someone based on anything other than a mutual attraction? They would rather be alone than accept any pity date. The woman who accepts to be ‘hooked up’ is no female that is secure in herself so as I said, like will attract like and should she say 'ok', the relationship will, however basic or sex-inclined even, be based on a mutual neediness and loneliness rather than a pure passion to be together.

Many relationships are unfortunately the co-dependant type. This phrase used to confuse me before because I believed that usually it is only one person that is relying on their partner too totally rather than that both of them are because one has to be the strong support of the other, right? Not really.

Let’s say one of the partners is obsessing over their new ‘love interest’. By obsessing I do not mean that you can’t get their beautiful face out of your head or that you are wrong in smiling all day long when you think of them, I actually mean that you start basing all your energies into the new relationship therefore slacking in your own life. This is an ego boost to a needy partner but the self-assured man or woman would take this as a warning sign to back off from this new relationship.

No one likes being chased. Say what? What I am stating is the total opposite of what is considered a ‘romantic’ courtship! Of course everyone loves being chased after all! Well it depends on the chasing though doesn’t it? I was over the moon to receive an unexpected text from someone I liked. I was very unamused when someone made the unprofessional choice of asking for my number presumably for an order I made at the shop where he worked, only to get multiple texts a day from him on a personal level. Honestly, which of the two guys would I be willing to date? I think it rather obvious!

So given you will always attract the person you ‘deserve’, why not make it a good healthy relationship by Loving Yourself First?

Friday, 12 July 2019

You Owe It To 'You' To Love Yourself - Includes Links to Self-Love Meditation.

I am back to being a full-time mum as of two Sundays ago. I missed my son terribly and we are now settling into our new home together wonderfully (erm... unless I count the tantrums!) but I wouldn't be realistic if I said having a child to care for doesn't always add more work.

I am still out of employment though I am working on multiple projects that I am turning into my dream jobs (yeah there are two separate careers I am working on, both equally interesting to me). In addition to that, I am still facing salespersons, deliverymen, complaints (from my end) and workmen at the new flat.

So all in all, with caring for the little man as well as acting as project manager for the flat, cleaning up the place and unpacking more boxes in addition to the projects that I still regard as 'work' given they take up time and concentration, I seem to now need more meditation time and time to 'just be' than I ever did in the past year.

I have tried guided meditation by different YouTubers for various needs and I could kick myself for now not remembering which one I had used when I needed to get over a heartbreak as I remember that one being totally fantastic and soothing and I would have liked to share it on here.

There are two self-love guided meditation YouTube videos that I have used to amazing results whenever I was in need to realign myself and get into a positive, happy, fulfilled energy. They both of them state to use for attracting either a particular partner or a soulmate but I can guarantee you can use them just as effectively to work on yourself, especially as they both deal with upping your own sense of self in order to align you with what you want. Both meditations I am linking below are by vloggers that I have huge respect for because they really resonate with me and I am able to easily understand their videos. They are also both practitioners of the Law of Attraction and this is very evident in their wording in the guided meditation videos.

You might say 'I don't follow Law of Attraction' or 'The Law of Attraction is all bullshit' which is fine by me though I will beg to disagree. However whether you believe in LoA or not, I am sure no one is against boosting their happiness in whatever way they can so you can always disregard the vlogger's personal views and concentrate instead on your happiness. There is nothing in either of the two videos that instil anything but love and a positive sense of self so there is no harm in trying them out, right?

This is starting to sound like a paid advert, which not only it isn't, but I actually refuse paid work that is to do with marketing and advertising most of the time due to my beliefs. Therefore feel free NOT to click on the links, which I am sharing here below for anyone that is willing to give bettering their life a shot. However good your life is, you can always strive to make it better.

The first link is to a video by Eric Ho, entrepreneur and international speaker. Eric's videos are truly inspirational and have helped me so much in my life, not only with his LoA advice but even more practical things such as business tips. However this one, which I had found linked on another of his videos, is actually a big booster to learning to love yourself in a good way (not egocentric).

The next link is to a video by Aaron Doughty, also dealing with self-love meditation, but is in my opinion for more advanced meditation. Even though I meditate and use affirmations every day, I still find Aaron's guided meditation heavy and sometimes more difficult to totally get into. However, being less basic than Eric Ho's Affirmations Meditation, it can transport you to a place of total relaxation and a place where you can actually listen to your heart. After all, even the biggest scientists got their eureka moments whilst in a state of relaxation.

The titles of both videos mention attracting other people but once you start the videos you will find they will concentrate on your own self and aligning that to love rather than making it about the other person at all.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

'NO' Diet? NO thanks!

If there is one thing I love to try, it is anything that will challenge me to have a better life. Be it a quick tip online that helps alleviate a bad mood, or something as complex as trying to read through and understand a book by Edward de Bono (in case you are wondering, turned out to be mind-boggling, not my cup of tea and I sold the book before getting halfway through it).

When a post on my Facebook feed suggested a healthy diet with a set of rules as to what NOT to eat, I was all for giving it a try. After all, I anyway didn’t often ingest half of the things on the list because it makes me feel better not to from a physical point of view anyway.

How hard could it be? One month of:

NO burgers
NO chips
NO ice cream
NO fast food
NO chocolate
NO white bread
NO soda
NO cakes or donuts
NO cookies or candy

I decided to start the challenge immediately rather than wait for the start of a month. When I went to mum’s and commented on a pretty new tin box she had acquired (I looovvvvveeee beautiful boxes!) she advised it was full of cookies and she would eventually open it to share and I immediately made my diet known. “One month ain’t a lot,” she said, hinting I could always take the cookie afterwards. Good point, challenge said a month after all, I was free to ‘break the rules’ once in a while after that.

Oh who am I kidding??

I got to Day 2 and my son had a kids’ pool party to which I was invited as well. One hour in the sweltering heat but not in the pool was enough to make me crave water, water, water!! We all trooped to the dining area of the party and the hostess advised we could get a drink from the bar. I tend to take water from sunrise to sunset (actually even wake up for some during the night at times) and I take water almost invariably when I eat out too. However it being a party I felt it wouldn’t hurt to grab a non-water bottle or can of something. No soda, right? It left me with choices of beer, juice, sports drinks. No soda and yet the diet allowed for alcohol or extra sugary drinks nonetheless. I started doubting its point. I took a sports drink not to spite the diet but rather because I was sweating like crazy and low on salt.

Next all parents were offered sandwiches and pizza slices. Pizza ain’t that healthy, right? I was starving so I grabbed and bit into a cheese sandwich. WHITE!! The sandwiches were white. My sandwich was bitten. I could have gone for the pizza but how is that a healthier choice than the white bread?! I ate on, starting to doubt the diet and yet feeling guilty for pacifying my starving stomach. (Do you see the irony of this self-love diet?)

The birthday boy turned 5! Yippie! How is that usually celebrated? Why with a cake of course! One mountainous beautiful cake, a piece of which was offered to the parents too and not just the kids. Oh oh! Should I take or should I not? I’d broken my diet anyways and would have to start it over and that cake looked good, so good! Also slightly rude to decline huh?

The cake turned out to be delicious. Also, it turned out NOT to taste at all of sugar as many do. A rainbow-coloured extravagant dessert that tasted like a healthy version of cake. (I really must ask for this baker’s number!)

And so ladies and gentlemen YES, I broke the diet, on day 2 nonetheless!! Was it a failed experiment? YES. Do I regret it failing. Honestly? Strangely - NO!

I am all for healthy eating, challenging myself and trying to cut sugar out (though I do tend to feel low on sugar at times so I doubt how wise is it to deny my body its needs). However there are ways and ways to do it.

I don’t get to go to a party every day. If anything, I rarely have any. I also rarely used to go to the Office’s work parties where the lure for other people was the free-flowing alcohol. I am THAT GIRL who goes to McDonalds and orders a healthy grilled chicken salad with real fruit yogurt and water for my drink!

This diet is starting to sound to me very much like the Project 333 (which you may find here: When I tried that one, I found it limiting, frustrating, denied me access to my own other clothes and proved to me no point. It might be good for people who have a wardrobe full of things they anyway don’t wear or who need a lesson in paring down, but it served me only to understand that rules and rigid numbers are NOT what I need to understand or practice something.

So with regards to my clothes and to my diet too, I would rather follow my heart and to it be true.